The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Recycling numbers up with new campus program

Since implementing the single-stream recycling program in office buildings and 150 classrooms across campus, recycling has jumped from 14 tons per year to about 21 tons per month, according to Robert Taylor, Campus Planning and Plant Operations environmental manager.

SMU experienced major changes for this increase to occur.

In May 2004, Taylor made all office trashcans into recycle cans. Custodians pick up the recycling, signified by the clear plastic bag; trash cans have black plastic bags. In fall 2005 Taylor and Joseph Grinnell, Student Senate environmental committee chair, worked to furnish classrooms with recycling bins.

“The decision to put recycling bins into the classrooms is basically unprecedented [for college campuses], at least in this part of the country,” said Grinnell.

The recent extension of recycling to classrooms, pioneered in part by the environmental committee, won the North Texas Corporate Recycling Association Environmental Vision Award in August 2005.

The environmental committee continued its efforts to make SMU a “greener” campus. Recycling reforms in residence halls and other Residence Life and Student Housing-managed properties such as Greek houses and on-campus apartments must be approved by RLSH, not CPPO.

Grinnell said the environmental committee has not been as successful working with RLSH as with CPPO.

According to Grinnell, he and fellow committee member Tiana Lightfoot, informally met with Susan Austin over a year ago to discuss the lack of labeling on recycling bins and the possibility of negotiating with the city of University Park for a cost-effective way of bringing the curbside recycling program to RLSH-managed communities.

But Austin, RLSH facilities manager, said she has asked the recycling committee on campus if they would like to be more involved. “But what we’ve found is that there hasn’t been a lot of follow through. I have tried for the last two years to get more student involvement with [the recycling] process. It’s not been picked up by any groups,” she said. We’re here to support any efforts of groups or buildings.”

The environmental committee provided RLSH with labels for recycling bins, but the labels were never applied. Grinnell said no move was made by RLSH to negotiate with the University Park Sanitation Department.

“There are hall improvement funds, where there’s money available,” said Austin. “And if a hall council wants to do something in the future they have that opportunity. They can get more recycling [bins]. If [students] have asked for more we have given them more.”

Before a proposal can be approved, it must receive the recommendation of RHA and RLSH.

Grinnell, who lives off-campus, acted as representative of the environmental committee to present ideas for recycling reforms to RHA. Student Senate representatives often make announcements at RHA meetings.

Nonetheless, hall council representatives have not gained interest in recycling reforms in residence halls.

Grinnell said, “RHA is too unorganized to deal with this issue that we have brought to them, much less investigate it for themselves and push RLSH to make a more efficient and convenient recycling program.”

Currently, no system is in place for recycling at fraternities, sororities and on-campus apartments.

The University Park Sanitation Services Department said a representative from the housing office should contact the city to negotiate a price and start a curbside recycling service.

Those communities are willing to participate if RLSH can negotiate a fair price for the city’s service, according to Grinnell. Student Senate suggested a service charge of $2.90 per month, which is the current rate for a residential recycling pick-up

Student Senate unanimously passed a formal resolution in February urging RLSH to “negotiate with the city to allow SMU student-communities’ participation in the city’s curbside recycling program at a reasonable cost.”

Although the resolution was passed in February it has not been presented to RLSH.

Grinnell attributes the delay to spring break and midterms.

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