With the help of a national recycling bin grant, Binghamton University is taking another step toward creating a more environmentally conscious and sustainable campus.
BU is a recipient of the Collegiate Bin Grant Program, and was selected along with 36 other colleges nationwide including Ohio State University and Arizona State University. Through this program, the University will receive 25 recycling bins designed to collect glass, metal and plastic cans and bottles. They will be placed inside and outside the Events Center as part of BU’s Go Green initiative.
The Bin Grant Program is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Foundation and Keep America Beautiful (KAB), a community-based environmental non-profit. The Bin Grant Program was started in 2007, and is not only open to colleges but also schools, local governments and community groups. Since its creation, it has supplied nearly 45,000 recycling bins to 866 organizations and events such as Jewish community centers and state fairs.
According to Larry Kaufman, a spokesperson for KAB, the organization invites colleges and other groups to apply for the grant online. KAB then evaluates the applications and chooses the recipients based on where the greatest needs will be met.
Kaufman said that many colleges lack proper recycling programs due to tight budgets that prevent them from making the investment.
“The goal of the grant program is to address these barriers by helping colleges and other organizations place more recycling bins where people will use them, and ultimately recover more items for recycling,” Kaufman wrote in an email.
According to Martin Larocca, the BU physical facilities resource recovery manager, the University has seen increases in recycling trends on campus. In 2010 the recycling rate was 23 percent, with around 610 tons of recyclable or compostable materials collected. Current recycling trends have pushed the rate to 27 percent with around 690 tons of recycled or compostable material collected each year.
He credits the rising rates to BU’s increased efforts, and said that the Bin Grant Program will help push current recycling trends forward.
“With this grant, we will be able to expand our current recycling program supporting the Events Center,” Larocca wrote in an email. “With the bins, a more prominent representation of Binghamton University’s Go Green initiative will be visible during campus and community events.”
Jennifer Ketchum, assistant director of physical facilities business affairs, said that as BU grows in population and size, the administration is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of sustainability.
“As our campus, staff and students grow, we have to do more to regulate our waste,” Ketchum said. “This begins at the Events Center.”
However, not everyone is convinced that placing bins at the Events Center will lead to a major impact in campus recycling. Lily Shoulberg, a junior majoring in English, said that while students are responsible for creating less waste, BU should make sustainability a more important matter.
“Sustainability needs to be a fundamental goal of the University, not just putting more recycling bins in a rarely used building,” Shoulberg said.
But Karen Walker, a senior majoring in business administration, said she thought the convenience of more recycling bins at the Events Center will begin to help students remember to recycle.
“I feel that people won’t recycle just because there are only trash cans easily accessible,” Walker said. “So having both trash and recycling will definitely entice people to recycle more often.”