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Idaho State University gears up to further “green” efforts: 350 new recycle bins to be placed in classrooms

October 13, 2013
ISU Marketing and Communications

Idaho State University Facilities Services, Associated Students of Idaho State University (ASISU), and the Green Up club are teaming up to implement 350 new recycle bins, one in every classroom, through a $1,100 grant from the Coca-Cola Company.

Three years ago, ISU Facilities Services began the recycling program. The program was run by custodians who took on the extra role of gathering recyclable materials daily and sorting it weekly. In addition, facilities services purchased two John Deere Gators which run on biodiesel made from recycled cooking oil collected from the College of Technology kitchen, Garrison Hall and the Pond Student Union.

Since then, up to 20 gallons of biodiesel per month are produced and Facilities Services has plans for producing more from the cooking oil. The Energy Systems Technology and Education Center (ESTEC) and College of Technology’s Energy Systems Technology instructors and students are planning to add electronic automation to the processor this semester and make the machines more efficient. The fuel can also be used to power campus lawn mowers and snowplows. Two electric vehicles were also purchased and are used to collect recyclable materials and other services.

Since September 2010 Facilities Services has collected more than 177,000 pounds of paper, plastic and aluminum on the Pocatello campus and has become the primary recycling entity on campus, although other recycling groups remain active at some buildings.

In 2011, Facilities Services recycled 73.5 tons of materials and its pace of collection has grown. Last year, recycled materials included more than 57,000 pounds of cardboard, 29,000 pounds of white paper, 53,900 pounds of office pack (non-white paper), 3,768 pounds of plastics and metal, and 2,385 pounds of newspaper.

The program has become such a success that one lead worker and two full-time employees have been hired to maintain the project. Each day, Stephen McMichael, Thomas Landon, and Michael Johns pick up the recycling from each academic building and spend several hours sorting the recyclable materials.

“Since September 2012, we have recycled 85.85 tons of material,” said McMichael, the lead worker. “We have had to overcome obstacles such as the work to person ratio, contamination issues and educating people on what can be recycled. With the new recycle bins in every classroom, we expect a 20 percent increase in recycling.”

Facilities Services can recycle a variety of items including white paper, colored paper, envelopes, brochures, books, magazines, newsprint, shredded paper, cardboard, waxed or glossy paper, plastic bottles, 1-4 plastic containers, aluminum cans, tin cans, manila folders, steel, iron, and plastic bags.

“Recycling saves money in landfill and garbage fees and leaves less of a footprint on the environment”” said Landon. “In the future, we would like to get campus housing involved to further increase our efforts. We’re three years old, so we’re new to this. Other places have done this for several years and been successful. Time is an important factor to our program.”

Efforts from the Green Up club have helped the recycling program to take off and increase every year.

“We are hoping to break the barrier,” said Ricardo Chavarria, acting president of the Green Up club. “It’s a great initiative for ISU to recycle. We’re excited to volunteer with Facilities Services to help out.”

For more information or to volunteer with sorting recyclable materials, contact the custodial department at 282-2394 or visit www.isu.edu/phyplant.


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