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CNM Celebrates National Recycling Day Nov. 15

November 13, 2017 -- CNM is celebrating National Recycling Day on Nov. 15 by continuing its campaign to reduce, reuse and recycle .Over the last 10 months, the college has collected about 1,763 pounds of recyclables per week on Main Campus, with 47 percent of that accumulated in bins designed specifically for single-stream recyclables.
CNM Celebrates National Recycling Day Nov. 15

Nov 13, 2017

“Students, faculty and staff all use the bins and appear to be conscientious about recycling,” said Molly Blumhoefer, CNM’s Campus as a Living Lab and Sustainability Project Manager.

Ninety of the 190 recycling containers located in common areas on Main Campus are 32-gallon blue plastic bins donated by the Coca-Cola Company earlier this year as part of its Keep America Beautiful Public Space Recycling Bin Grant Program. Most of those are placed in high-traffic areas around Main Campus

“Considering that none of these bins are in offices and classrooms, receiving 47 percent of Main Campus’s total recyclables is quite a bit of material that’s going into these receptacles,” Blumhoefer noted.

The grant offered several bin designs to choose from, but Blumhoefer selected a bin design that was inspired by students a few terms ago as part of a sustainability-related project in Marissa Jaurez’s technical writing class. Students researched what type best influences recycling behavior on campus. “It is so wonderful to see instructor and student efforts impact sustainability operations on campus,” Blumhoefer said. 

In total, the Coca-Cola/Keep America Beautiful initiative provided 3,522 recycling bins to colleges and universities, along with 996 bins to local governments and nonprofit organizations. The bins are made possible through a grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Coca-Cola Company.

CNM was selected as one of the schools to receive bins based on its potential to collect the most paper materials, cans and bottles, as well as other considerations such as the extent of need, recycling experience and ability to sustain the program in the future.

“One aspect of recycling that CNM has struggled with is the lack of convenient opportunities and confusion about what and how to recycle. This is not specific to CNM, but to all large educational institutions” Blumhoefer said. “The Keep America Beautiful bins are clearly designated for single-stream recycling, they are blue and placed in convenient locations, which make it easier for the CNM community to recycle.”

She added that CNM is slowly eliminating other bins that have separate chambers for plastics, cans and trash and replacing them with single-stream bins that can accept paper, plastic, cans and cardboard, but no glass or Styrofoam.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to recycle their stuff,” Blumhoefer said. “Marissa Jaurez’s students were correct, blue, single-stream recycle bins fit that purpose.”

She’s confident that standardizing the types of bins and their locations help lessen confusion about recycling. In February 2018, CNM will once again participate in the national RecycleMain event. RecycleMania is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities on their campuses.

Over an eight-week period each spring, colleges across the United States and Canada report the amount of recycling and trash they collect each week and they’re ranked in various categories based on who recycles the most on a per capita basis, as well as which schools have the best recycling rate as a percentage of total waste and which schools generate the least amount of combined trash and recycling.

CNM will participate in Recyclemania a little differently in 2018. Rather than reporting recycling per capita, the Physical Plant Department will use this experience, and others, to publish case-studies based on data collected about various internal efforts to improve waste management. They hope these studies, and associated outreach, will improve overall recycling operations and behavior that encourages reducing waste, reusing materials and recycling.