While Weber State could recycle 75 percent to 80 percent of the university’s waste, the university only recycles about 20 percent. Jennifer Bodine wants to change that.
Bodine, the university’s sustainability specialist, says WSU had 1,085 tons of waste between July 2013 and June 2014. Of that, 892 tons were sent to the landfill, and 193 tons were recycled.
“I think it’s important to be (aware) about the waste we are producing,” Bodine said. “I think a lot of people don’t realize how much waste we produce.”
On average Americans produce about 4.5 pounds of waste per day.
Since WSU isn’t recycling as much as it could be, the Sustainability Office is working on a campus-wide recycling plan to bring students’ attention to recycling.
Though WSU puts the trash cans and the recycling cans next to each other, Bodine said students still throw items that could be recycled into the trash cans. Often, whether or not someone recycles comes down to how convenient and easy it is for them to recycle.
“It just doesn’t seem to be something that is important to a lot of people,” Bodine said. “But there is definitely room for improvement as far as getting more bins, getting them in more convenient locations and making sure that we have good signage.”
WSU plans to make all of the recycling signs and bins around campus consistent. Though she doesn’t have the numbers to prove it, Bodine thinks recycling practices at the Davis campus are better than in Ogden because of the consistency of the bins and signs.
Custodians at the Davis campus have reported little contamination between garbage and recyclables, Bodine said.
The WSU Sustainability Office is working on getting more recycling bins on the main campus. The ideal would be to have a recycling bin next to every garbage can on campus.
In order to help students become more aware of recycling, WSU is participating in a recycling competition called RecycleMania. In this competition, students who are living in the residence halls will be competing in order to see which residence hall can recycle the most items.
This nationwide competition among universities will run Jan. 18 through March 28. The first prize winner will receive an award of $500.
“There are a lot of opportunities for students to learn about recycling and improve the rates here on campus,” said Kristi Mak, student sustainability coordinator.
For students and community members, WSU promotes recycling by having a glass recycling drop-off on campus by the Stewart Stadium. WSU is one of four drop-off locations for glass in the city of Ogden. The green waste facility, Ogden High School and the Weber County Health Department are the other three locations where community members can recycle glass.
“The longer we can keep reusing resources that have already been extracted and already put into materials, the better,” said Alice Mulder, chair of the Environmental Issues Committee. “We have gotten a little bit better on campus, but we have a lot of improvements to make.”