By: Chelsea Sydnor
Gardner-Webb is transforming the recycling system on campus in order to make a difference for the environment. The goal is to make recycling more accessible throughout the campus and to consequently increase the number of recycled products.
Once the program is in effect, students and staff will no longer have to separate recyclable waste into separate categories such as paper, glass and plastic.
“Recycling is now single-stream, which means that it is sorted at an off-site facility,” explained Mel Lockhart, Director of Environmental Services.
So far, academic buildings including Frank Nanney Hall, O. Max Gardner Hall, and Craig Hall have been revitalized for recycling. The new arrangement involves reusing the trash cans in faculty offices as recycling containers. Garbage cans will only be available in common areas of the buildings, encouraging staff members to recycle as many items as possible in their personal baskets, while saving their actual trash for the communal cans.
While the new system will hopefully make recycling less complicated, the success of the initiative will rely on campus-wide cooperation. “You have to have almost perfect participation,” said Lockhart. “If a recycling can is contaminated with food or other garbage, the whole recycling bag will have to go in the trash.”
Lockhart will soon visit Clemson to observe the university’s recycling system in hopes of learning new strategies to make Gardner-Webb’s program successful. Ultimately, he hopes to see Gardner-Webb recycle at least 80 percent of its waste, a tremendous difference from the current method in which the vast majority of waste products are not recycled. Lockhart believes that recycling will bring about both financial and environmental benefits.
The Creation Care Environmental Club (CCEC) is doing its part to encourage recycling on campus as well. They would like to see students reminding their peers about the option of recycling.
“The current focus of the Creation Care Environmental Club is to educate the students of Gardner-Webb about recycling and get them motivated to recycle,” explained CCEC president, Michaela Roland.
Students can look out for the blue and green recycling bins around campus. Recycling containers will be distinguishable by their clear liners, while the garbage receptacles will have black ones. The different cans will also be clearly labeled with signs to indicate their purpose.
“The new recycling plans will do nothing without the students taking the effort to recycle,” said Roland.