Students, faculty look to renew campus recycling efforts

BY LAURA FAY
NEWS EDITOR

Sustainability ideas and projects fill the whiteboard in the Facilities Operations Department conference room, and they range from simple paper-saving ideas to major energy-saving efforts. Recycling is just one of several sustainability efforts on campus, but it represents an easy way for students to join the movement.

Mark Murphy, director of sustainability and facilities operations at The University, said the current recycling-related efforts focus on consistency and awareness. Murphy hopes implementing a consistent recycling and waste scheme throughout The University will increase recycling and reduce trash.

He wants to make sure all recycling and trash receptacles look uniform and are clearly marked. That way, he said, students, faculty, staff and guests always have the opportunity to choose to recycle or throw away their waste. Outside locations will have a trash can and a comingled can for glass, plastic, aluminum and tin. Indoor locations will have three containers: one for garbage, one for paper and cardboard and one for comingled containers.

Formerly used to be the campus engineer and has been on the sustainability team since June. He also works with the student-run Sustainability Club to create more projects. The group hopes to start a recycling program for off-campus housing this year.

Maggie Capooci, a sophomore studying environmental science, is treasurer of the Sustainability Club. She said she wants to increase recycling on campus, especially in residential buildings, to give students an easy way to help the planet.

“It is important that we keep our resources clean and usable for future generations,” she said.

The maintenance staff also does its part to make The University sustainable. Staff members empty recycling containers three times per week and take the material to a recycling center in the area, often taking two trips. They also recycle scrap metal when they have it, which generates a small amount of revenue.

“Our grounds crew and maintenance crew are very aggressive about recycling scrap metal, so there’s hundreds of thousands of pounds of scrap metal every year that they take to the scrapyard,” Murphy said.

Murphy said he hopes The University can have the best recycling and waste management system in the country, and he hopes to implement plans to make that happen this year.
“It should be easy,” Murphy said.

Contact the writer: laura.fay@scranton.edu

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