Posted August 25, 2013

Recycling program expands to accept additional plastics

As classes get underway, students and staff are retuning to changes in the university's recycling program. 

On Aug. 1, Temple expanded its recycling program so that members of the university community can now recycle mixed plastics, Nos. 1-7. Examples of newly accepted items include yogurt cups, clamshell containers, straws, iced coffee beverage cups and a wider range of plastic containers for food and medicine. Soiled containers are still not recyclable within the new program — items contaminated with food waste must be rinsed before being placed into university recycling containers.

“This expanded program is really aimed at making it easier for the Temple community to do the right thing and recycle,” said Marshall Budin, Temple’s recycling manager.

Expanding the program helps advance goals set forth in the university’s Climate Action Plan to increase the recycling rate to 40 percent from 32 percent by 2015. The university save money by diverting more solid waste from its waste stream. It costs more than $150 more to dispose of one ton of trash compared to one ton of recycling, according to a 2012 assessment. 

“This really shows how going green can be good for the planet and good for the budget,” said Kathleen Grady, director of Sustainability.

Although an expanded recycling program is a positive achievement, the Office of Sustainability stresses the importance of waste minimization. Reducing consumption of new products is the best way to conserve resources, energy, and reduce pollution, said Grady.

Temple has several initiatives in place to encourage waste minimization, including water bottle filling stations designed to reduce the use of disposable water bottles. In addition, Sodexo offers discounted coffee refills at all of its campus locations to those who bring a reusable coffee mug.