September 21, 2022

Sustainability department rolls out recycling program to increase awareness, recycling on campus

pt-recycling-signs Campus Planning, Architecture and Sustainability has rolled out new signs to help increase recycling efforts on the West Lafayette campus. The signs are located in 19 academic buildings and include illustrated examples of recyclable items and QR codes linked to additional resources. (Photo provided by Administrative Operations Communications) Download image

An upgraded recycling rollout is underway on the West Lafayette campus to help increase recycling and reduce waste sent to the landfill. Two types of receptacles located throughout several buildings have new signs attached that include illustrated examples of recyclable and nonrecyclable items and QR codes linked to additional resources.

The rollout is an initiative by Campus Planning, Architecture and Sustainability (CPAS) to support the 2020 Physical Facilities Sustainability Master Plan. The plan calls for an annual campus waste recycling rate of 50% by FY25.

“The new signs are designed to make it easier for students, faculty, staff and visitors to know what to put in each receptacle,” says Tony Gillund, director of sustainability. “Small actions combined together can create a significant impact, and that is what we are hoping to accomplish with this project.”

CPAS has been working with the Tippecanoe Recycling and Solid Waste Management District and local recyclers to ensure alignment on what items are currently recyclable. A list of recyclable items and items that should be disposed of in landfill bins is available on the Recycling webpage. The website also includes additional resources related to University and personal or household waste, and it will continue to be updated in the coming months with helpful information for the campus community.

CPAS has also worked with the Building Services, Grounds and University Surplus departments, as all groups are involved in the handling of generated recyclables and waste.  

“Our custodians are our eyes and ears in campus buildings,” says Russ Wetli, director of building services. “Their work is vital to maintaining a healthy environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors. Part of that work is the proper disposal of trash and recycling from the building.”

For most campus buildings, Grounds transports landfill and recycling materials. They ensure the items get to the appropriate disposal destinations, including the Tippecanoe Recycling and Solid Waste Management District.

The new signs are currently posted in 15 high-traffic academic buildings. The goal is to add the signs to four more buildings throughout this semester. Sustainability will measure specific data, including how many times the QR codes are scanned, to assess the effectiveness and usefulness of the enhancements.  

Questions about recycling or feedback regarding the program may be directed to Sustainability at sustainability@purdue.edu.


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