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					                                      An RPI Recycling
                                               Upgrade

                                                      M. J. & P. F.
                                       help determine where adjustments
      Since R.P.I. began recycling     can be made for optimal
in earnest around 1995, the            performance. From the students’
programs implemented have made         perspective, paper recycling has
great differences in the waste         been made especially convenient
disposal process on campus. The        by the placement of bins in nearly
installation of central recycling      every classroom. As a result, most
stations has allowed for the           students admit to recycling their
recycling of many of the products      used paper products on a regular
readily consumed on campus.            basis. In a survey conducted
While the overall recycling            among about thirty students, it was
program has been very effective, it    found that 68% of them
seems that certain areas have          consistently recycle paper. Even
proven more effective than others.     those that aren’t necessarily
Keeping track of all of the            environmentally conscious are
recycling on a college campus can      willing to utilize the paper
be a very daunting task. For this      recycling bins. The purpose of this
reason, we would like to provide       proposal is to suggest a method of
Feedback from the students             increasing the can and bottle
utilizing the program in order to
                                                                                             2


recycling rate to a level consistent   bottle. For this reason, most
with that of paper recycling.          students simply end up tossing
                                       their bottles and cans in the closest
What’s Wrong?                          trash receptacle at the end of class.
        In addition to the good        The convenience factor seen with
news regarding the paper               paper recycling bins is just not
recycling, the survey also             there for the bottle and can bins.
produced data showing that only
                                                                        PAPER VS. BOTTLE/CAN RECYCLING
around 16% of the students recycle                            35                                     Va
                                                                                                     TO
cans and bottles on campus.                                                                          NU
                                                              30
Interviews with other classmates
                                         NUMBER OF STUDENTS   25
have produced similar results.
      When asked why they didn’t                              20

recycle cans and bottles, the usual                           15

reply was that they aren’t able to
                                                              10
find the proper receptacles to
                                                              5
recycle them in. For most
students, while there is a brief ten                          0
                                                                      BOTTLES/CANS     PAPER

minute period in between classes,
the majority of their time on
                                       Solution
campus is spent in classrooms.
Even those that desire to recycle
                                                               The solution to the current
their drink containers don’t usually
                                       recycling problem is simply the
have the time to look for a bin
                                       installation of additional bottle and
while hurrying across campus.
                                       can recycling bins in strategic
Furthermore, most people don’t
                                       locations around campus. Because
feel like carrying around an empty
                                                                                3


the location is crucial, we feel that   amount of bins involved with this
there should be a bin located in        process, we feel that this initial
every classroom at RPI.                 step would allow for an easy
Furthermore, the solution would be      assessment of cost and
comprised of two phases; the            management. Furthermore,
preliminary implementation              because the process needs to be
process and then the final              tested in an environment that
establishment of a continuing           allows for continual student
program. The preliminary process        activity and involvement, we feel
would consist of a trial period and     that allocating Russell Sage as the
an initial implementation process       testing area would allow for the
of the recycling bins that would be     most promising results. Because of
tested from a specific designated       its reasonable number of
building. The program would then        classrooms (27), it should provide
be assessed and if it shows             the best platform for initial trials.
promise would be continued                     The program that we are
throughout the remainder of the         suggesting would consist of
campus.                                 recycling bins for bottles and cans
Implementation                          that could be located in all
      The initial implementation        classrooms and eventually any
process would involve a                 other areas where they may be
designated building where the           needed. For this reason, the bins
environmental and site services         should be of a smaller size than the
department could monitor the            current large wheeled bins and
effectiveness of the newly              located in convenient spots,
integrated recycling bins. Due to       preferably near the classroom trash
the size of the campus and the          cans. This would allow for the bins
                                                                               4


to be in an obvious area of the          money on overall campus waste
room and would enable the                removal because there will be less
cleaning staff to easily locate all      recyclables for outside agencies to
waste materials for the final            have to haul away.
removal process. Additionally, to              The criteria for the proper
make sure removal of all the             bins being used is also an issue.
materials is done effectively,           The bins have to be attractive, the
Environmental and Site Services          proper size, and obviously marked.
Department will encourage the            Because regular trash bins are
cleaning staff to keep the bottles       usually unattractive, we propose
and cans themselves. Since some          using official recycling bins
of the staff already take part in this   created for the purpose of
action, but are not officially told to   collecting bottles and cans.
do so, the director would announce       Though using plain trash bins is
an official policy (through written      still an option because of their low
memos) that would promote the            cost (around 5 dollars a bin), we
staff to remove the materials and        feel that a proper recycling bin
retain any profits for themselves.       would allow for better recognition
This would allow the cleaning staff      and relieve the extra effort of
to redeem a deposit at local             trying to properly label them. For
vendors that offer recycling             these reasons, we chose the Hex-
collection services for a return fee.    cycle 2, from recyclingbins.com.
We feel that this act would allow        Being around 30 inches tall and 18
an incentive among the cleaning          inches wide, it allows for emptying
staff to make sure the trash and         to take place around once a week.
recyclables are properly disposed.       The bins cost is also reasonable
Additionally, the school will save       (around 29 dollars a can) and
                                                                           5


therefore the initial installation         One reason for RPI’s
will                                 success with the paper recycling
                                     program is the uniformity of the
                                     paper bins. They are all identical
                                     and allow for students to recognize
                                     them without having to read them
                                     to see what they recycle.
                                     Additionally, they are large and
                                     esthetically pleasing. Thus, for the
                                     bottle and can bins the same
                                     actions should be taken to
                                     guarantee the same kind of
                                     uniformity. This would allow
Multi-Colored Options for
                                     further convenience for students
Hexycle 2 Recycling Bins
                                     through the act of familiarity.
from Recyclingbin.com
                                     Moreover, the fact that the current
not be expensive (somewhere in
                                     paper bins have a slit that allows
the vicinity of 780 dollars). In
                                     for only paper to enter helps to
comparison, some of the current
                                     reinforce the situation. The bins
multi-use recycling stations cost
                                     we chose would have a similar
over 400 dollars each.
                                     effect because of the round slot in
Furthermore, because they cost
                                     the lid that emphasizes their use
half the price of the paper bins
                                     for bottles and cans.
already located in most classrooms
                                           As the program matures,
around campus, they should be
                                     building managers will start to
well within the school’s budget to
                                     keep a database (something as easy
purchase and install.
                                     as an excel spreadsheet) of the
                                                                           6


rooms that have bins and rooms        Precedents
that need bins. This will allow the         Research on other schools’
managers to accurately report their   recycling programs showed that
needs to the Environmental and        most of them are very similar to
Site Services department.             the one at R.P.I.. The majority of
Furthermore, the ecological club,     schools seem to have centrally
whom already engages in               located large recycling bins. Some
dumpster diving at least once a       schools however, are beginning the
year, would be asked to check the     trend of installing recycling bins at
Russell Sage dumpsters to ensure      nearly every trashcan. In a recent
that this program is working          article from the Harvard Crimson,
properly. Eventually, if the          a student representative remarked
process used for Sage is succesful,   that, “If you go to Brown
then this program would be spread     University you’ll see that there are
throughout the rest of campus in a    recycling bins next to all trash
gradual implementation process        bins—why doesn’t Harvard have
over the next 1-2 years. After all    the same thing?” (Rogers).
of the classrooms have been filled    Another example is the University
out with bins, the continued          of Massachusetts at Amherst,
convenience of recycling bins         which has color-coded recycling
would be ensured through the use      bins in every office, lab,
of request forms. These forms         classroom, meeting room,
would be attached at the major        cafeteria, and dorm room. These
recycling stations in buildings to    bins only require emptying on a
allow for anyone to voice their       weekly or biweekly basis (“What
opinion as to where new bins          goes in”). In addition to the
should go.                            increased number and convenience
                                                                                  7


of bins, some of the schools, such
as Boston University make it easy
to request new bins in locations
not currently served. They achieve
this by having request forms online
and throughout campus(“B.U.’s
Recycling Program”).
      With a few small changes,
R.P.I. can meet and exceed the
effectiveness of the programs at
these schools, and put us at the
forefront of campus recycling
efforts. We feel that by increasing
the number of conveniently
located bottle and can recycling
bins, the effectiveness of the
recycling program will be raised to
a new level. In addition, the
process of implementation that we
have chosen should do a good job
of keeping both cost and added
labor efforts to a minimum.
                                                      Works Cited




                                      “Brown University Recycling: Program
                                      Summary.” Brown University 2003. 24 April
                                      2006
                                                                             8

<http://www.brown.edu/Departments/Brown_Is_
Green/recycle/recysum.html>


“B.U.’s Recycling Program.” Boston University
2005. 24 April 2006
<http://www.bu.edu/recycling/content.html>


Recycling Bins. 2005. 24 April 2006
<http://www.recyclingbin.com/product.aspx?id=
6>


Rogers, Joshua P. “Harvard to add 86 Recycling
Bins.” The Harvard Crimson 2004. 24 April
2006
<http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=50
2419>
                                                 An RPI Recycling
“What Goes in the Red, Blue, and Green Bins.”


                                                     Upgrade
University of Massachusetts Amherst 2000. 24
April 2006
<http://www.umass.edu/recycle/red_blue_green.
html>
                                                         M. J. & P. F.


        Since R.P.I. began recycling in earnest around 1995, the programs
implemented have made great differences in the waste disposal process on
campus. The installation of central recycling stations has allowed for the
recycling of many of the products readily consumed on campus. While the
overall recycling program has been very effective, it seems that certain areas
have proven more effective than others. Keeping track of all of the
recycling on a college campus can be a very daunting task. For this reason,
we would like to provide Feedback from the students utilizing the program
in order to help determine where adjustments can be made for optimal
performance.From the students’ perspective, paper recycling has been made
                                                                                  9


especially convenient by the placement of bins in nearly every classroom.
As a result, most students admit to recycling their used paper products on a
regular basis. In a survey conducted among about thirty students, it was
found that 68% of them consistently recycle paper. Even those that aren’t
necessarily environmentally conscious are willing to utilize the paper
recycling bins. The purpose of this proposal is to suggest a method of
increasing the can and bottle recycling rate to a level consistent with that of
paper recycling.


What’s Wrong?
        In addition to the good news regarding the paper recycling, the
survey also produced data showing that only around 16% of the students
recycle cans and bottles on campus. Interviews with other classmates have
produced similar results.
      When asked why they didn’t recycle cans and bottles, the usual reply
was that they aren’t able to find the proper receptacles to recycle them in.
For most students, while there is a brief ten minute period in between
classes, the majority of their time on campus is spent in classrooms. Even
those that desire to recycle their drink containers don’t usually have the time
to look for a bin while hurrying across campus. Furthermore, most people
don’t feel like carrying around an empty bottle. For this reason, most
students simply end up tossing their bottles and cans in the closest trash
receptacle at the end of class. The convenience factor seen with paper
recycling bins is just not there for the bottle and can bins.
                                                                                                                 10



                                 PAPER VS. BOTTLE/CAN RECYCLING AT RPI
                       35                                           V ariable
                                                                    TO TA L S TU D E N TS S U RV E YE D
                                                                    N U M BE R O F S TU D E N TS RE C YC LIN G
                       30


                       25
  NUMBER OF STUDENTS




                       20


                       15


                       10


                       5


                       0
                               BOTTLES/CANS     PAPER



Solution


                        The solution to the current recycling problem is simply the installation
of additional bottle and can recycling bins in strategic locations around
campus. Because the location is crucial, we feel that there should be a bin
located in every classroom at RPI. Furthermore, the solution would be
comprised of two phases; the preliminary implementation process and then
the final establishment of a continuing program. The preliminary process
would consist of a trial period and an initial implementation process of the
recycling bins that would be tested from a specific designated building. The
program would then be assessed and if it shows promise would be continued
throughout the remainder of the campus.
Implementation
                        The initial implementation process would involve a designated
building where the environmental and site services department could
                                                                                    11


monitor the effectiveness of the newly integrated recycling bins. Due to the
size of the campus and the amount of bins involved with this process, we
feel that this initial step would allow for an easy assessment of cost and
management. Furthermore, because the process needs to be tested in an
environment that allows for continual student activity and involvement, we
feel that allocating Russell Sage as the testing area would allow for the most
promising results. Because of its reasonable number of classrooms (27), it
should provide the best platform for initial trials.
       The program that we are suggesting would consist of recycling bins
for bottles and cans that could be located in all classrooms and eventually
any other areas where they may be needed. For this reason, the bins should
be of a smaller size than the current large wheeled bins and located in
convenient spots, preferably near the classroom trash cans. This would allow
for the bins to be in an obvious area of the room and would enable the
cleaning staff to easily locate all waste materials for the final removal
process.      Additionally, to make sure removal of all the materials is done
effectively, Environmental and Site Services Department will encourage the
cleaning staff to keep the bottles and cans themselves. Since some of the
staff already take part in this action, but are not officially told to do so, the
director would announce an official policy (through written memos) that
would promote the staff to remove the materials and retain any profits for
themselves. This would allow the cleaning staff to redeem a deposit at local
vendors that offer recycling collection services for a return fee. We feel that
this act would allow an incentive among the cleaning staff to make sure the
trash and recyclables are properly disposed. Additionally, the school will
save money on overall campus waste removal because there will be less
recyclables for outside agencies to have to haul away.
                                                                                12


       The criteria for the proper bins being used is also an issue. The bins
have to be attractive, the proper size, and obviously marked. Because regular
trash bins are usually unattractive, we propose using official recycling bins
created for the purpose of collecting bottles and cans. Though using plain
trash bins is still an option because of their low cost (around 5 dollars a bin),
we feel that a proper recycling bin would allow for better recognition and
relieve the extra effort of trying to properly label them. For these reasons, we
chose the Hex-cycle 2, from recyclingbins.com. Being around 30 inches tall
and 18 inches wide, it allows for emptying to take place around once a week.
The bins cost is also reasonable (around 29 dollars a can) and therefore the
initial installation will




Multi-Colored Options for Hexycle 2 Recycling Bins from
Recyclingbin.com
not be expensive (somewhere in the vicinity of 780 dollars). In comparison,
some of the current multi-use recycling stations cost over 400 dollars each.
Furthermore, because they cost half the price of the paper bins already
                                                                                 13


located in most classrooms around campus, they should be well within the
school’s budget to purchase and install.
      One reason for RPI’s success with the paper recycling program is the
uniformity of the paper bins. They are all identical and allow for students to
recognize them without having to read them to see what they recycle.
Additionally, they are large and esthetically pleasing. Thus, for the bottle
and can bins the same actions should be taken to guarantee the same kind of
uniformity. This would allow further convenience for students through the
act of familiarity. Moreover, the fact that the current paper bins have a slit
that allows for only paper to enter helps to reinforce the situation. The bins
we chose would have a similar effect because of the round slot in the lid that
emphasizes their use for bottles and cans.
      As the program matures, building managers will start to keep a
database (something as easy as an excel spreadsheet) of the rooms that have
bins and rooms that need bins. This will allow the managers to accurately
report their needs to the Environmental and Site Services department.
Furthermore, the ecological club, whom already engages in dumpster diving
at least once a year, would be asked to check the Russell Sage dumpsters to
ensure that this program is working properly. Eventually, if the process
used for Sage is succesful, then this program would be spread throughout the
rest of campus in a gradual implementation process over the next 1-2 years.
After all of the classrooms have been filled out with bins, the continued
convenience of recycling bins would be ensured through the use of request
forms. These forms would be attached at the major recycling stations in
buildings to allow for anyone to voice their opinion as to where new bins
should go.
Precedents
                                                                               14


      Research on other schools’ recycling programs showed that most of
them are very similar to the one at R.P.I.. The majority of schools seem to
have centrally located large recycling bins. Some schools however, are
beginning the trend of installing recycling bins at nearly every trashcan. In a
recent article from the Harvard Crimson, a student representative remarked
that, “If you go to Brown University you’ll see that there are recycling bins
next to all trash bins—why doesn’t Harvard have the same thing?” (Rogers).
Another example is the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, which has
color-coded recycling bins in every office, lab, classroom, meeting room,
cafeteria, and dorm room. These bins only require emptying on a weekly or
biweekly basis (“What goes in”). In addition to the increased number and
convenience of bins, some of the schools, such as Boston University make it
easy to request new bins in locations not currently served. They achieve this
by having request forms online and throughout campus(“B.U.’s Recycling
Program”).
      With a few small changes, R.P.I. can meet and exceed the
effectiveness of the programs at these schools, and put us at the forefront of
campus recycling efforts. We feel that by increasing the number of
conveniently located bottle and can recycling bins, the effectiveness of the
recycling program will be raised to a new level. In addition, the process of
implementation that we have chosen should do a good job of keeping both
cost and added labor efforts to a minimum.
                                                                                      15




                                           Works Cited




“Brown University Recycling: Program Summary.” Brown University 2003. 24 April 2006
<http://www.brown.edu/Departments/Brown_Is_Green/recycle/recysum.html>
                                                                                                   16

“B.U.’s Recycling Program.” Boston University 2005. 24 April 2006
<http://www.bu.edu/recycling/content.html>


Recycling Bins. 2005. 24 April 2006
<http://www.recyclingbin.com/product.aspx?id=6>


Rogers, Joshua P. “Harvard to add 86 Recycling Bins.” The Harvard Crimson 2004. 24 April 2006
<http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=502419>


“What Goes in the Red, Blue, and Green Bins.” University of Massachusetts Amherst 2000. 24 April 2006
<http://www.umass.edu/recycle/red_blue_green.html>

				
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