QUESTIONS ABOUT RECYCLING AT AUGSBURG
Q – Does Augsburg have a single-stream recycling system?
A – You might still find some lingering paper and bottle recycling bins around campus but don’t let that confuse you. Augsburg has a single-stream recycling system so feel free to toss everything into one bin. Please be sure to empty all containers though to avoid messy spills and contamination. Old bins are being replaced as we transition to this new system.
Q – “Why not have the custodians empty the desk side recycling containers?”
A – The objective of a successful program is to involve broad participation; the job of recycling is simply too large for any custodial department, waste hauler, or government agency for that matter. As consumers we need to take some responsibility for the waste we generate. Given the best circumstances, recycling is a break-even operation. To spend large sums in labor dollars in sorting and transporting recycle materials is not economically viable.
Besides, when we have polled customers on this, most respond that they are happy to empty their own recycle bins. Many people use their desk-side recycling as a kind of intermediate storage for papers they still might refer to.
Q – “What happens to the money the University makes on recycling?”
A – Actually, we don’t make any money. The cost of labor to collect, sort, and haul away recycle materials outweighs financial gains. We do however AVOID certain costs; we are charged less to remove a ton of recycle materials than we are a ton of waste. In this way it does make economic sense to recycle.
Q – “We must make money on aluminum cans ?”
A – Again, the labor of removing cans and sorting eliminates any profit. If we were to separate, sort, crush, store and transport aluminum cans, we would realize some cash, but the labor cost would far outweigh any money derived. We believe we are better served by the current system of commingling aluminum with glass and plastic. That system is simple, economical and efficient, and meets the objective of keeping these materials out of the waste stream.
If any campus group is interested in collecting and sorting aluminum cans as a fund raiser, we are certainly willing to accommodate that activity. In the past, Campus Ministry, M.P.I.R.G., and others have done this.
Q – “When in doubt, recycle it. Right?”
A – WRONG! If you are uncertain whether something is recyclable, it probably isn’t. Contamination of recycled materials remains our single greatest problem. When waste is mixed in with recycle materials it causes whole loads of recycle materials to be rejected by the hauler. Food waste and beverages carelessly thrown in a paper collection container turn all that collected paper into waste. When a recycling dumpster becomes contaminated with trash, we even have to pay additional charges for a special pick-up to remove it. When in doubt, throw it out! Call Custodial Services with your questions (x1640).