Recycling bins are the newest accessory in residence hall rooms at the College of Charleston. As part of the Office of Sustainability’s efforts to increase recycling rates, more than 2,000 bins were distributed to 11 campus residence halls, free of charge to residents. The recycling bins were purchased with a joint grant from The Alcoa Foundation, the national nonprofit Keep America Beautiful, and the College & University Recycling Coalition.
Currently, the College’s recycling rate is about 14 percent, so only 14 percent of the waste that is generated on campus is recycled and diverted from the landfill. After placing personal recycling bins into the Buist and Rutledge residence halls last fall as a pilot, the recycling rate in these locations was 30.83 percent – double that of the average residence hall recycling rate of 13.15 percent.
“Having the opportunity to recycle is one of the most basic things you can do to increase your recycling rate,” says Jen Jones, facilities coordinator in the Office of Sustainability. “If you don’t have a convenient place to put recycling, it’s going to wind up in the trash. But, we’ll have to couple this with some serious education campaigns throughout the next year to make the impact we want.”
Recycling rates will be calculated each year following Recyclemania!, the annual recycling competition which is held in partnership with the Office of Residence Life. You can follow the Recyclemania! results on the College’s recycling webpage at recycle.cofc.edu.
Jones says that monitoring progress through studies like this is crucial to being successful. “If you can’t point to what works and what doesn’t, you won’t be able to hone in on your successes and expand on them. In the Office of Sustainability, we spend a lot of time conducting research and analyzing data so we have empirical evidence to back up the decisions we make.”
About the Office of Sustainability at the College of Charleston
The Office represents the hub for teaching, research, and practice of sustainability on campus and in the greater Charleston community. The Office of Sustainability is located within Business Affairs, to give it a high profile on campus and in the community, where it is accessed and influenced by all members of our campus community. This represents an exciting step forward for the College of Charleston, and signals a new chapter in our esteemed history. Stay up-to-date with us by visiting sustainability.cofc.edu and on our Facebook page at http://Facebook.com/CofC.sustainability.
About Alcoa Foundation
Alcoa Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S., with assets of approximately US$460 million. Founded 60 years ago, Alcoa Foundation has invested more than US$570 million since 1952. In 2012, Alcoa Foundation contributed more than US$21 million to nonprofit organizations throughout the world, building innovative partnerships to improve the environment and educate tomorrow’s leaders for careers in manufacturing and engineering. The work of Alcoa Foundation is further enhanced by Alcoa’s thousands of employee volunteers who share their talents and time to make a difference in the communities where Alcoa operates. Through the Company’s signature Month of Service program, in 2012, a record 60 percent of Alcoa employees took part in more than 1,050 events across 24 countries, benefiting more than 450,000 people and 2,050 nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit www.alcoafoundation.com and follow @AlcoaFoundation on Twitter.
About Keep America Beautiful
Keep America Beautiful is the nation’s leading nonprofit that brings people together to build and sustain vibrant communities. With a network of more than 1,200 affiliate and participating organizations including state recycling organizations, we work with millions of volunteers to take action in their communities. Keep America Beautiful offers solutions that create clean, beautiful public places, reduce waste and increase recycling, generate positive impact on local economies and inspire generations of environmental stewards. Through our programs and public-private partnerships, we engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community’s environment. For more information, visit kab.org.