Why Should I Recycle?

Recycling is one of the best ways for you to have a positive impact on the world in which we live. Recycling is important to both the natural environment and us. We must act fast as the amount of waste we create is increasing all the time. The amount of rubbish we create is constantly increasing because:

  • Increasing wealth means that people are buying more products and ultimately creating more waste.
  • Increasing population means that there are more people on the planet to create waste.
  • New packaging and technological products are being developed, much of these products contain materials that are not biodegradable.
  • New lifestyle changes, such as eating fast food, means that we create additional waste that isn’t biodegradable.

During the Fall Semester of 2006, members of the VSU community renewed their interest in ensuring that the University has a viable recycling program.  Over a period of years, that program had diminished in size and capacity.  Members of S.A.V.E., the faculty and staff alerted VSU Administration of their concerns and those concerns were relayed to the Department of Physical Plant and Facilities Planning.

Finding an entity that would accept recyclable waste was the first priority. After Physical Plant made contact with the Director of Public Works for the City of Valdosta, Mr. John Whitehead, a plan was established that would utilize the City’s on-going recycling program.  The City is capable of accepting the following sorted materials:

  1. Mixed Paper
  2. Newspaper
  3. Clean Cardboard             
  4. Mixed Cardboard

Additionally, they use a “Single Stream” approach to other recyclables; aluminum, plastics, metal cans, glass, etc.  These materials are not sorted by the City, but rather shipped to a vendor who extracts the recyclable materials.  VSU developed a program that compliments the City of Valdosta’s recycling operation.  Since the beginning of February 2007, the following actions and initiatives have begun.

(A) Two Student Assistants work as a “Recycling Crew” on campus.  They have been provided with a vehicle and work vests that identify them as “VSU Recycling”.  They are servicing academic buildings, food service operations and dormitory recycling sites.  Additional personnel may be hired as the program develops and if funds are available.

(B) The University established a recycling center at the Toombs St. entrance to the Bursary drive-thru.  The city donated a “Sway Car” for VSU’s use in recycling.  It is picked up whenever it becomes full and taken to the City’s recycling facility on Myrtle St.  Frequency of pickups average once every 2 – 3 weeks.

(C) At the recycling center, there are City donated barrels for use by VSU to further sort material collected in the dormitories or other locations.

(D) The City has donated a dumpster for use in collecting cardboard items.  This has been added to the collection duties. This 8 cubic yard dumpster tends to be emptied every day.

(E) VSU purchased over $29,000 in recycling containers for use throughout the campus.  Additionally, a dedicated vehicle, specifically intended for recycling use has been purchased and is now in use.  Additional resources are purchased as the need is recognized.

(F) Four “Recycling Sites” are located near residence halls for use by residents.  These are intended for plastics, glass, aluminum and cans.  Material should be clean before being deposited, so as to ensure a clean and odor free environment.

While Physical Plant has the responsibility for organizing the logistics of the recycling program, an important ingredient is customer participation.  The recyclable material can not be contaminated with food wastes, waxy coatings, plastic wrappings, etc.  Material that is contaminated can not be separated and cleaned.  It is discarded as waste.

Through the active participation of students, student organizations (S.A.V.E., SGA, etc.), faculty and staff, an ethos that supports behaviors that result in a successful recycling program must be fostered.  VSU will rely on those constituents to educate our community and make recycling an accepted, and expected, norm.