Students trying to recycle books and plastic bags can now do so without going any further than the roll-away recycling bins outside their building.
Recycling is now provided through Eagle Enterprises Recycling, based out of Galva, Ill. Eagle Enterprises had already been picking up bound books from select locations, but expanded over the summer. Bound books can go into any of the recycling locations now.
Most companies that handle recycling start out as trash collection companies that add limited recycling services later. Eagle Enterprises Recycling started as a recycling company, according to Student Senate Sustainability Committee Chair Irene Stephenson.
Having the dedicated recycling provider also allows for the total recycling from Knox to be measured in weight. Director of Campus Sustainability Deborah Steinberg is excited to use this to participate in RecycleMania.
“RecycleMania is a national competition of colleges and universities to reduce waste. That’s a really great opportunity for awareness and campaigning towards recycling more things,” Steinberg said.
According to Steinberg, the previous provider, Jackson Disposal, did not offer measurements for recycling.
The company has also changed how students put their recycling out. Rather than leaving out bags or boxes, students in the quads put their recycling into roll-away bins outside their building.
Those in apartments on the north end of campus have dumpsters in the parking lots. Seymour Union also has a dumpster.
“It’s a lot easier for students. They’ll accept every type of recycling bag. Last year, if students put something that wasn’t recyclable into a recycling bag, then the people who were recycling for us would just throw it away. This year, if something is thrown into a recycling bag that doesn’t belong, they’ll still try to take what they can,” Stephenson said.
The company also has an interest in improving student education about recycling and offers tours of their facility. Steinberg hopes to further help students with recycling by making sure all of the recycling containers are blue and identifiable and by further distributing the advertising magnets given out at the start of the term.
“I’m super excited about the magnet. Yeah, we gave them to everybody this year, all students, and then what we’ll do moving forward is give them to first years when they come in during orientation and then I’d like to make them permanent fixtures in the suites that have kitchenettes,” Steinberg said.
The magnets inform students of what they can and cannot recycle. Expansions include all recyclable plastics except for number 6, plastic bags and bound books. Steinberg explained that number 6 plastics, which include Styrofoam and Solo cups, are degraded and have no market in the area.
“[Eagle Enterprises is] very passionate and helpful in terms of finding a market for all recyclables,” Steinberg said.