PSU recycling program expanding rapidly

Since its origination two years ago, PSU Recycles!, a university-run program designed to promote recycling at PSU, has raised the rate of recycled waste considerably. Still, a lack of student awareness of the program may be hindering its ability to reach city-mandated recycle rates.

Resource Management Coordinator for PSU Recycles!, Kim Dinan, said she thinks most students don’t know there is a recycling program, even though it’s partially funded through student fees. That’s something they hope to reverse through expansion and marketing, Dinan said.

"I think we have a long way to come," Dinan said. "Right now you walk through the buildings and it’s hard to find bins."

"That’s our goal, to make it easy."

Since the 1970s students have struggled to establish a solid recycling program here at PSU, until the university hired Michele Crim as Sustainability Coordinator in early 2002.

Three months after being hired, Crim began laying the groundwork for what would be PSU Recycles!

As of September 2004, PSU recycled about 36 percent of produced waste, a figure 21 points above that of a year ago.

However, a new city mandate that all businesses and universities must recycle at least 50 percent of their waste has imposed a new objective for the management and crew of the program.

To reach this goal, said Dinan, they must raise student awareness of PSU Recycles! and increase the flow of communication between them and students, first by expanding their program to the surrounding college housing buildings, then through a stepped-up marketing program.

PSU student Nicole Brown said that while she assumed there was an established recycling program at the university, she was not aware that it was partially funded through her student fees.

"No I did not know that," said Brown.

Though she said she doesn’t mind the extra cost, Brown thinks most students would probably take better advantage of the program if they made more of an effort to advertise and educate.

"There’s no available obvious information," said Brown, "I had no clue they were using my money for that."

PSU Recycles! anticipates expanding their program to college housing upon the clearance of a pending grant.