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A brief history of recycling on the IU-South Bend campus

Indiana University South Bend has a long history of recycling. Beginning in the early 1970s, staff, faculty, and students collected recyclable materials and took them to local collection centers. These efforts were made by individuals and were not uniform across the campus.

In the early 1990s a campus-wide recycling program was developed. The push for the campus recycling program was made by students who recruited faculty and staff to begin the recycling committee. The Faculty Senate adopted the Recycling Resolution in 1995. The initial campus recycling program focused on paper, cardboard, and aluminum cans. In 1999, Andy Schnabel (Professor in Biology) wrote an IDEM grant that provided funding to purchase the blue recycling bins in the hallways of all campus buildings, outdoor bins (made of recycled plastic), and some of the bins placed in the Student Activities Center and Administration building. These bins were critical to increasing the visibility of the recycling program. Faculty can also request bins for recycling paper in their office from Marietta Tyks (Custodial Night Manager).

The campus recycling program depends upon custodial staff and the grounds crew for regular pickups of recyclables. Custodial staff collect paper, aluminum cans, plastic bottles, and cardboard from hallway recycling stations located in each building. The grounds crew maintain the outdoor recycling bins.

Since 2000, the campus recycling program has expanded to include many types of paper (office paper, newsprint, staple-bound catalogs, magazines, telephone books, paperboard), cardboard, aluminum cans, steel cans, clean aluminum foil, plastic bottles and containers (#1-5 and 7 - see recycling label on bottom of container), transparencies, inkjet cartridges, and books. Electronic media was recycled from 2001 to 2008, but was discontinued in 2008 due to heightened security concerns about identity theft).  Annual recycling drives to collect "Tough Stuff" for recycling have included plastic bags, styrofoam, egg cartons, shoes, and electronics  Annual community electronic recycling drives were begun in 2009 in partnership with Apple Computers.  The IU-South Bend Center for a Sustainable Future organized the community electronic recycling events in 2010 to present. 

The Recycling Committee is an ad hoc Senate committee that includes custodial staff, facilities director, faculty, and students. The recycling committee organizes the collection of glue-bound books (in collaboration with the library), transparencies, and inkjet printer cartridges. The recycling budget comes from the sale of aluminum cans (collected on campus) and recycling inkjet printer cartridges. This generates roughly $800 per year, and this money is used to recycle catalogs, transparencies, styrofoam, and other items. The campus began single-stream recycling in 2009, although we are still keeping aluminum cans, paper, and plastic bottles separate on the main campus to maintain a small budget that allows the recycling committee to continue expanding and updating the campus recycling program. Ongoing goals of the recycling committee are to increase visibility of recycling, educate campus on the importance of recycling materials and reducing waste, and modify the recycling program as the use of materials change. For example, the use of transparencies has decreased due to the shift in presenting classroom material in electronic form. We will eventually be able to fade out the transparency recycling program. Additional projects have included partnering with facilities to increase the amount of campus yard waste that is composted.