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Dual Stream Recycling comes to Purdue. Learn more about this program!
Dual Stream Recycling
Physical Facilities is partnering with buildings across the Purdue University campus to launch a dual stream recycling program.
The dual stream recycling program will help us meet our long-term goal of maximizing Purdue's recycling rate by the most cost-effective and efficient means. As the program expands across campus, you can help us in this effort. Learn more now about why separating office paper will be beneficial and how it will work. Check our Recycling Quick Reference to determine what constitutes office paper, mixed recyclables, and trash.
Recycling Quick Reference
|Office Paper||Mixed Recyclables||Trash|
Paper clips and staples are OK.
Frequently Asked Questions
A deskside recycling bin. One side can be used for office paper, and the other side can be used for mixed recyclables (cans, bottles, cardboard, etc.)
Q: What is dual-stream recycling?
A: Dual-stream recycling is a program that collects office paper separately from other mixed recyclables. Recyclable materials other than office paper can be disposed of together in a mixed-recyclables container. These items are then sorted and processed by the vendor.
Q: Why not just go with single-stream recycling?
A: Office paper resells at a substantial premium. The revenue stream from this type of premium paper helps offset some of the operating costs of the recycling program.
Q: Why does this new program work better than the old program?
A: More conveniently placed recycling bins, such as desk-side containers, increases the likelihood that users will participate in the new program. Users no longer need to sort their recyclables, other than office paper. By making recycling as convenient as possible, we anticipate (and have already seen) a substantial increase in the volume of materials being recycled. More recycling means less trash going to landfills.
Q: Why don't you continue to pick up desk-side trash?
A: Three reasons mainly:
- First, we have staff limitations. Neither Building Services nor Grounds received additional hours, staff, or funding to accommodate a greatly expanded recycling program. Consequently, we had to make trade-offs in order to make everything work. For example, instead of picking up desk-side trash three times a week, under the pilot program we pick up recycling twice a week. The time saved from that third pickup is used to service all the new centralized trash cans and recycling centers. That way, we can add services without increasing staff or hours.
- Second, one of our main goals with the new program is to change people's behavior, to get people to think recycle first - trash second. It's a significant cultural shift. Leaving the old cans in place would impede the process.
- And third, another goal is to increase the volume of recycling as much as possible. The more recycling is emphasized over traditional trash, the more successful the University will be in reaching its goal of recycling at least 65% of its solid waste.
Q. Why can't we keep our trash cans?
A: Our approach to recycling places a high value on providing the convenience of a desk-side recycling container, while asking people to walk a short distance to discard their personal trash. Centralized trash containers are located in common areas that office workers visit regularly (copy centers, break rooms, etc.) and are changed more frequently than the desk-side trash containers were in the past. And although people always had the option to bring in their own personal recycling container, few people did.
While benchmarking other universities that provided desk-side recycling containers and left the trash containers, they reported a less-noticeable improvement in their recycling percentage than we have experienced during our pilot program. Our pilot program responds to these disappointing results with a simple idea: replace the traditional trash can and address the dynamics of human behavior.
The intent is to capture greater volumes of recyclable materials by promoting thoughtful consideration when it comes time to dispose of that yogurt cup or McDonald's bag. Walking to a centralized location to dispose of your own personal trash is neither difficult or unreasonable, it's just not as convenient. And we're able to support this new initiative without the need for additional staffing or recurring operating expense.
We also recognize that our custodians are dedicated, service-oriented employees. Since we have a limited amount of labor hours to assign to the task of emptying containers, we are concerned that our well-intentioned staff will continue to empty trash cans, thus reducing the level of cleaning and tasks they complete in other areas.
Finally, many of Purdue's trash containers were long overdue for replacement, and we are taking this opportunity to upgrade the quality and aesthetics of the containers we provide. We have received several reports that people are adapting their personal workspace to provide a container for themselves so they can hold the small amounts of trash they have for a period of time and then carry it to the conveniently located centralized trash container.
Initial results from the pilot program clearly show making recycling more convenient than trash increases participation and reduces the amount of trash generated by our daily activities.
Q: Does someone sort the mixed recycling?
A: Purdue is transitioning over to dual-stream recycling, in which most recyclables are comingled. The reason for this change is to streamline processing while increasing volume across campus. We no longer sort any recycling, with the exception of office paper and corrugated cardboard.
Q: Are our recyclables really recycled? Where do Purdue's recyclables go?
A: Yes. Mixed recyclables are taken to the Tippecanoe County Transfer Station, where they are loaded into trailers and sent to a materials recovery facility in Muncie or Chicago. Then the various materials are separated, sorted, and resold to various mills and factories.
Q: What constitutes "office paper?"
A: Here's how Purdue Recycles breaks down the most commonly recycled materials :
|Office Paper||Mixed Recyclables||Trash|
Paper clips and staples are OK.
Corrugated cardboard is a separate category of recyclables. Please empty and flatten.
A centrally located trash bin, which
collects organic materials (such as
food waste) and other non-recyclables.
Q: What items cannot be recycled desk-side?
A: Liquids, organics/food waste, food wrappers, food containers with more than 5% food residue or contamination (no yogurt cups, pizza boxes, paper plates, and the like, unless cleaned of food residue), plastic sandwich bags, plastic grocery bags, broken glass, wood, and restroom waste including hand towels and facial tissue.
Batteries , printer and ink-jet cartridges, electronics, light bulbs, and many other types of hazardous waste are collected and recycled separately. Please contact Brian McDonald at 496-3712 for information.
Copy centers will continue to have metal cans in place for collecting office paper, and the green rolling bins located throughout the building can still be used for large volumes of office paper. Confidential bins and paper shredders are not affected by the recycling program.
Q: Are yogurt cups considered food containers (trash) or recyclables?
A: If a food container has minimal food residue, it can be recycled. Anything more than 5-10% contamination makes it trash.
Q: Are facial tissue and restroom paper not recycled because they're contaminated?
Yes. Technically, used facial tissues or restroom papers are trash. Unused facial tissue or restroom papers are recyclables. However, we consider all facial tissue and restroom paper as trash for sanitary reasons.
Q: Do I need to rinse food and drink containers before recycling them?
A: A small amount of residue is okay. Anything more is contamination and should not be thrown in with recycling.
Q: I have a physical disability. Can you accommodate my need for a desk- side trash can?
A: Yes, we can. Send your request to Charles Cary, director of Building Services, at 494-1425 or firstname.lastname@example.org . He will review and respond to your request.
In some public areas, recycling can still be sorted, to accommodate visitors who may not be familar with dual-stream recycling. Left to right, trash/organics, plastics and cans, and paper.
Q: Did you consider safety, egress, and ADA code compliance when determining the placement of hallway cans?
A: Yes, we discussed and gave full consideration to these issues when we developed the template for placing hallway containers. Since we recognize that some buildings may have unique situations, we will work with the building deputy and concerned customers to find the best location for each container.
Q: I think there's a better location for the hallway trash can than where it's currently placed. Whom should I contact about having it moved?
A: Initial placement of hallway trash receptacles is determined by traffic patterns, occupant density, historic collection rates, and safety issues. In some cases, the initial location may be the only location available. However, we welcome your feedback. If you have a suggestion for better or more efficient placement of any trash or recycling receptacle, contact your building deputy. Together, we will determine if the receptacle can and should be relocated.
Q: Some of the new centralized interior trash cans are not used very much. Can they be removed?
A: We will work with your building deputy to identify trash cans that can be eliminated without negatively affecting access or service.
Q: How did you determine where to place the exterior recycling cans?
A: Grounds staff selected high-profile, high-pedestrian traffic areas for the placement of exterior cans. Whenever possible, recycling cans are placed near trash cans.
Q: Can we keep our current office paper recycling can?
A: Yes, you can. Cans for collecting office paper are located in areas that have historically generated higher volumes. We want to continue to capture that paper separately.
Q: Can we keep the big green rolling bin we use for collecting paper in our department?
A: You have probably had a large rolling bin assigned to your area because it generates large volumes of office paper. We will review usage and determine whether the bin should be designated for office paper or mixed recyclables. Either way, it will remain in place.
Q: Are can liners changed every night?
A: In general, we change can liners when they become heavily soiled or torn. Since everyone, including our staff, is learning the details during the pilot program, we're putting can liners in the desk-side recycling cans. These get changed, if needed, twice a week. Centralized trash cans are emptied, and are changed as necessary, as often as every night.
Q: If I supply my own desk-side trash can, will it be taken away?
A: No, we do not remove personal items under any circumstances. However, we will not empty it. Under the new program, each person should transport his or her non-recyclable materials to a centralized collection point.
Q: Do custodians remove recyclable items like plastic water bottles from the desk?
A: No. Custodians do not remove any personal items, including recyclables, from desks. Our custodians only handle and empty items that are deposited in the recycling containers.
Q: What happens to the old metal cans?
A: They are recycled, and the proceeds are reinvested in the program.
Q: How will computer labs be affected under the new program?
A: Computer labs generate large amounts of office paper and will be outfitted with large containers for office paper.
Q: Are you planning to introduce the new recycling program in research and teaching labs?
A: At this time, we do not plan to change the way waste products are collected and disposed of in labs. We will monitor and review circumstances on a case-by-case basis, and in some instances we may add mixed recycling containers where we determine a need exists.
Q: I am a student and I live off campus. Can I participate in Purdue's recycling program?
A: Ideally, the city or jurisdiction you live in has a recycling program you can participate in. We are in the early stages of discussing ways in which we can offer centralized recycling drop-off points for students in strategic locations near campus.
Q: I live in the county and I bring in recycling from my home. Does this help the University with its recycling numbers?
A: There's a common misperception that recycling generates income for the University. The bottom line is recycling, just like trash, is expensive. Office paper and corrugated cardboard are the only items that generate revenue. Bringing your recycling in from home does not help the program.
Q: Are recycling containers available for special events?
A: Yes. Our Grounds staff has 35 recycling containers, donated by Coca-Cola, which can be used for special events on campus.
Q: I have more questions. How do I get more information?
A: Contact Charles Cary, director of Building Services, at 494-1425 or email@example.com .