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Initiative helps spur recycling


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By Mary Hauber




IU will recycle more than 5,000 pounds of plastic, metal, paper and cardboard today alone, according to a poster near a trash receptacle in Wright Food Court.

For No Waste Wednesday, volunteers helped students organize their trash into the correct receptacles at Wright Food Court.

The No Waste Program, which is a part of the IU Office of Sustainability, is dedicated to informing students about how to reduce waste. Graduate student Mark Milby, No Waste Program coordinator, said the program works with Residential Programs and Services to help improve their recycling system.

The waste bins in IU dining halls have compartments for plastic, plastic bottles and trash only. With all these options, students can be unsure of where to put their waste.

“One of the places IU definitely needs more education on recycling is in the campus dining facilities,” he said. “The most powerful way to change someone’s behavior is peer-to-peer modeling.”

Milby said the No Waste Program would like to see a 40 percent landfill reduction by 2020.

One of the ways to reduce trash is by not producing the waste, Milby said. Students can buy a reusable cup from RPS at any dining hall, which will greatly reduce waste.
The reusable cup only costs 59 cents to fill at dining halls.

Freshman Ellie Symes,No Waste Wednesday volunteer, said recycling is something she thinks is important.

As dining hall customers came to the trash bins, she offered guidance about which receptacle their waste belonged in.

“I don’t really pay attention to it at all,” said sophomore Bofan Chen, Wright Food Court customer. “I usually throw it all in one.”

The majority of students leaving Wright Food Court shoved all the contents of their tray into the largest “TRASH ONLY” receptacle.

“It is a total rumor that everything goes to the same place,” Milby said. “I’ve seen it, I’ve followed it and I’ve ridden in the trucks.”

However, Milby said it is important to keep the trash separate.
 
Milby said when a bag arrives at the facility to be sorted, if there is a lot of trash in the recycling, they will not have time to sort it, so the recyclables will be tossed.

“If people think it is a social norm to recycle, they’ll do it,” Milby said. “We’re trying to make it the social norm.”

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