This year, our OSU Recycling Manager Pete Lepre celebrated his 5th year at OSU. As Pete reflects on the changes he’s seen over the past 5 years, he recognizes several major accomplishments that the OSU community has made towards responsible recycling.
In 2007, OSU Recycling partnered with Allied Waste of Corvallis to offer the Master Recycler Class. This eight-week program covers all aspects of waste reduction. The classes are offered free to anyone who agrees to “pay forward” what they have learned about waste reduction through completing 30 hours of community service. Over the past five years, over a hundred people throughout surrounding communities have completed this program.
Each year, OSU Campus Recycling and Surplus Property work with University Housing and Dining to reduce waste during residence hall move-outs. By educating residents on repurposing and recycling and by giving them the tools to recycle and donate as much as possible, this program has been extremely successful. This year 17,558 lbs. of donations were collected – 1.5 times as last year! What’s more, this effort not only helped the environment by promoting the reuse of materials, but these donations also helped our local nonprofits and those in our community who are in need.
During Residence Hall move-ins there has been a great deal of packaging materials that were being sent to the landfill. So, in 2010, OSU Recycling launched the Styrofoam Recycling Program, which provides separate bins to recycle these materials. OSU students and staff really stepped up to make this project successful. In example, in just one 6-day period, 120 cubic yards (20 dumpster) of packaging material was collected and recycled. This effort not only kept these items out of the landfill, but it also saved taxpayer dollars – the recycling cost was only 13% of what the landfill fees would have been.
One of the most impressive examples of OSU recycling efforts involved the commitment to event recycling. Through collaboration among DaVinci Days staff, OSU recycling, Allied Waste, and community volunteers, 87% of the trash was diverted either to recycling or compost, at last year’s DaVinci Days. This meant that 67% less waste was sent to the landfill! At the University, Event Recycling took a major step forward at University Days events, where composting and other zero waste measures have been instituted and maintained – and serves as a shining example of the commitment and dedication of the OSU community to be environmentally responsible.