Move-in weekend was sunny and hot but, from at least one perspective, it was also “a perfect storm.”
That’s Duane Hamilton’s assessment of the conditions for collecting recyclable cardboard when BGSU students are moving into campus residence halls for fall semester.
The amount of the haul from this move-in weekend, Aug. 23-24, isn’t known yet, said Hamilton, director of campus services for facilities services. But if history is any indication, it’s going to be big.
Last year, about 43,000 pounds of cardboard were collected for recycling on the same weekend. Since 1994, BGSU’s average annual cardboard collection has been roughly 432,000 pounds, meaning that, in 2007, one weekend’s worth of cardboard accounted for 10 percent of the total for the year.
And that 43,000-pound figure was even down from 2006, when 56,000 pounds were picked up as students moved in. “We’re starting to see less,” Hamilton said, “as people have moved to more sustainable, reusable storage containers.” He pointed in particular to plastic containers that offer uniform size, sturdiness and the ability to be stacked.
But plenty of volume is still provided by the cardboard packaging of new items that students bring to college, he added, citing futons, refrigerators, microwave ovens and computers as examples.
Nearly 20 stations for cardboard recycling were posted around campus for move-in weekend. The collection was taken to Facilities Services space across from the Wood County Airport, where some has been loaded into roll-off containers and a portion has been hauled away. The material has multiple buyers, but the University deals mainly with a couple recyclers in Toledo. From there, Hamilton said, the cardboard “goes all over the world.”
Scott Euler manages the recycling program, and several students work on the crew year-round, he said, noting that Facilities Services staff members who collected cardboard were among more than 100 who helped with move-in weekend overall
Over 6 million pounds (3,000 tons) of cardboard has now been recycled at BGSU since 1994; during that same period, total recycling has reached 25.3 million pounds, or about 12,671 tons, of material.
“Recycling represents about 30 percent of our total waste on campus,” Hamilton said, pointing out the savings in tonnage going to the Wood County Landfill. “The extent is pretty significant.”