It’s Earth Day, and Bridgewater State University is doing its part to improve the environment. In addition to its LEED-certified buildings and energy-saving practices, the campus recycles 83 percent of all the waste produced on campus.
“Over the last 10 years we are seeing students making a more conscious effort when it comes to recycling,” said Ann Wood, administrative assistant with Facilities, Management and Planning. “There is more awareness today about it.”
Wood and Stefani Eaton, Facilities Management associate director, oversee the university’s recycling program, run entirely by BSU students.
“We are being told that in 50 years the earth might be so polluted we won’t be able to fix it. Recycling is important because we are helping the environment,” said one of those students, Brittany Oppenheimer, ’22.
Small actions, even walking 15 extra steps to toss a plastic bottle into the correct container, can create a positive ripple effect toward avoiding that outcome, she said.
BSU operates under a “multi-stream” system, which offers separated recycling. Plastic goes in the specially marked plastic containers, paper in the paper containers and so on.
There are approximately 200 green, 96-gallon “otto” containers on campus; 13 tan multi-stations; 12 Bigbelly brand stations; 20 mixed-paper bins; and 40 battery bins.
Desk bins are provided for faculty and staff upon request; BSU also recycles light bulbs.
“We want people to be aware when they are throwing out their trash, if they recycle properly, it helps. Recycling isn’t just about keeping something out of the trash, but keeping it out of the landfills,” Eaton said.
The BSU recycle program employs ten student employees. Joe McDermott, ’21, and Paul Wild, ’19, are two of the “truck workers,” responsible for picking up recycling from bins positioned outside all university buildings and common areas.
Oppenheimer is one of the “flow workers,” and each week visits campus buildings to manually collect recycled paper from interior bins.
“The school produces a lot of waste, the more we recycle, the more we can cut down on the university’s carbon footprint,” Wild said.
Those involved in the recycle program hope that during this year’s Earth Day (April 22) and beyond members of the BSU community will continue to get educated about where the campus recycle bins and containers are located and take that extra second to put items into the proper containers.
“Think about it a little bit more when you are throwing things out, just be a little more aware,” McDermott said.
Students today may be better at recycling than previous generations, but there is still work to do.
“We are trying to promote better habits so when they do go into the world they continue these practices,” Wood said.
For more information about BSU recycling call (508) 531-2653. (Photo by Carl Hollant)
Do you have a BSU story you'd like to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org