Recycling revamped across NMU campus


The average American throws away up to 56 tons of trash per year, according to cleanair, an environmental protection group and only one 10th of that is recycled.

A new single-sort program implemented at Northern will attempt to lower the school’s waste output.

The single-sort recycling program no longer requires anyone to sort their recyclables before sending them away. Instead of having to put paper in the paper bin or plastic in the plastic bin, NMU faculty, staff and students are now able to throw all their recyclables into one container whenever they are on campus.

From there, Northern custodians will transport the recyclables to red Dumpsters on campus which are separate from the green Dumpsters designated for garbage. Waste Management will then pick up the items and send them to Green Bay or Milwaukee for sorting, since there are no sorting centers in the Upper Peninsula, said Carl Pace, associate vice president of business services and facilities at NMU.

The program was first tested in NMU’s residence halls in August of last year, and in Cohodas in December, Pace said.

The program is in its beginning stages, so there is no way of knowing if it will increase NMU’s recycling yet, Pace said.

“It’s too early to tell. It fluctuates. Until we get some history there, we won’t know,” he said.

Also part of the new program are the battery receptacles that can be found in Gries Hall and the Thomas Fine Arts building. Students, faculty and staff can throw their used batteries in the plastic tubes so the batteries will be recycled instead of sent to a landfill.

Northern has had a recycling program in place since 1992, Pace said.

“We’ve always been recycling glass, plastic paper and metal,” he said. “We have not been doing that in a lot of [NMU] buildings. It’s been too hard segregating that stuff. But now, we can commingle it so that doesn’t matter.”

“This [new program] just makes it much easier,” he said. “It’s a good thing.”

Students on campus, however, have mixed opinions about recycling on campus.

Sarah LaJoie, a sophomore elementary education major, said she doesn’t recycle on campus too often.

“I do when I’m at work on campus,” she said.

Jeanine Blom, a sophomore nursing major, said she uses the recycling system that is available to her in the residence halls.

“It’s good. I definitely use it,” she said.

However, she said she wished NMU would advertise its recycling program more.

Senior digital cinema major Shana Sinn said she doesn’t recycle very often.

“If there was an option [for recycling] next to the garbage, then I would,” she said.