Recycling Program Saves Money
submitted by Jim Schultz, Facilities
Michigan Tech has had a formal recycling program for nearly a decade and, during that time, several hundred tons of paper has been recycled. During much of that time, the University was paid for recycled paper; but in recent years, due to poor market demand, this is no longer the case.
Nevertheless, the price to haul recyclable materials away is currently half the cost of disposing of other waste, and the program saves Michigan Tech approximately $31 per ton. This past year Michigan Tech recycled about 143 tons, saving the University more than $4,400.
Our vendor for recycling and waste disposal is Waste Management. The firm uses a process called single-stream recycling, which allows materials such as paper, metal and plastic to be recycled in the same container. Previously, individual bins were needed for each type of material to be recycled.
You may have noticed recently the addition of several blue containers in the buildings with signs nearby listing what can be recycled. Some people still are unsure about what is or is not allowed in these containers, so here are some guidelines.
* Almost all paper or cardboard, with the exception of food containers, paper toweling, napkins, tissue, or brightly colored fluorescent paper. Examples of acceptable paper include books, magazines, catalogs, and even sticky notes.
* Metal cans are accepted but should be rinsed clean. The paper label on the can does not need to be removed. Foil is also permitted.
* Only plastics with a number one or number two on the bottom of the container may be recycled. Water bottles are typically recyclable.
* Paper clips and staples should be removed from paper that is being recycled. Small amounts of tape on paper are acceptable.
* Glass and Styrofoam may not be recycled.
Items from home may be recycled at the transfer station near the Charter Communications office in Houghton. From May through October, materials are accepted Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and until 7 p.m. on Thursday. During the winter, the schedule is Monday and Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Thursday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Michigan Tech currently recycles about 15 percent of its waste. Some schools recycle half of their waste, so there is the potential at Michigan Tech to recycle a lot more.
If you have any ideas or suggestions for improving the recycling effort, contact Schultz at 487-2904 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
If you would like to have one of the small recycle bins for your office, they cost $6. Contact Bill Mitchell at email@example.com .