To make recycling simpler and more efficient at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), a recycling pilot program is helping to implement conventional recycling messages and containers throughout campus. UNL has been recycling on campus for decades, but has not been able to do so for the approximately 45% of waste sent to landfills from campus, according to Morgan Hartman, a project coordinator in the UNL Office of Waste Management and Recycling. Prior to the recycling pilot program, refuse collectors gathered materials from dumpsters at campus buildings.

The pilot program, led by the UNL Office of Waste Management and Recycling, began in December 2020 by updating existing waste stations with new bins that include separate compartments for refuse and recycling. Recycling containers are specifically labeled with images of what is able to be recycled, and the bins are located in high-traffic areas inside buildings across UNL’s City and East campuses.

The project hopes to bring solidarity and efficiency to on-campus recycling, according to Hartman, and was established to make recycling a priority at UNL through partnership with Custodial Services. But as the pilot continues to grow, some students still don’t understand the details. Many students wonder if the contents of the bins are actually being recycled, but Hartman said they are. “Empty, clean and dry recyclables placed in waste stations in pilot buildings are collected and transported to Green Quest Recycling here in Lincoln,” Hartman said.

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Author: Maggie Glen, The Daily Nebraskan
Image: Andrea Atkinson