WNMU Partners With Town Of Silver City To Increase Campus Recycling

© Western New Mexico University

Silver City NM — Western New Mexico University recently furthered its commitment to recycling on campus by partnering with the Town of Silver City Single-Stream Recycling Plan, resulting in a doubling of volume in recyclable materials collected. 

The effort comes in addition to an existing partnership between the university’s Physical Plant Department and the WNMU Eco-Sustainability student club, which has seen recycling efforts increase since it was formed in 2012.

“There were many times the Eco-Sustainability Club could have given up and stopped pushing recycling altogether,” explained Eco-Sustainability Club President Erica Michelle Rasmussen.   “It took a group of passionate people that said “This needs to change” and with the collaborative effort of the community, several departments on campus and our activists, it did.”

Recycling efforts were given a boost when Eco-Sustainability member April Lee applied for and received the Coca-Cola ‘Keep America Beautiful’ grant.  At least 70 large recycling bins were provided and placed throughout campus. In support of the grant, WNMU purchased smaller recycling bins for residence hall rooms and department offices.  Recent efforts to promote recycling across campus have coincided with the Town of Silver City’s adoption of a Single-Stream Recycling Waste Program.

“All of us here realize that WNMU can have a tremendous impact in developing and encouraging environmental awareness among the many residents, students, faculty and staff,” explained Director of Facilities Stan Pena. “This fiscal year, President Shepard and the administration enabled us to adopt, fund and move these initiatives even further.”

Single-Stream recycling systems are common across the country. The system allows people to combine all paper-fibers, plastics, metals and other containers into one bin, mixed in one collection truck and sorted once delivered to a recycling plant.  The system was initiated in California in the 1990’s, and in adopting the program Silver City is aiming towards a 33% recycling rate.

At WNMU, no system was in place to collect recycling bins campus wide. Initially, Facilities Supervisor Ron Reed agreed to collect the bins, along with work-study Kenyon McNeill. Thanks in part to the support shown to on-campus recycling, McNeill has recently been hired as a full time employee. The total tonnage of recycled material from July 2013 through March 2014 has more than doubled when compared to figures recorded for the previous year.

The list of electronic items that can be deposited into the campus recycling bins does not extend to cell phones, ipods, cd/dvd players, computers, or batteries. The Eco-Sustainability Club will be hosting a ‘Battery Drive’ from March 24through April 17, coinciding with the community’s celebration of ‘Earth Day.’  Students are encouraged to deposit batteries and electronic items in disposal boxes in the residence halls. Contents will be collected and taken to the Earth Day celebrations where they will be correctly disposed.

The Eco-Sustainability club will have a fundraising table at the Earth Day celebration on Saturday April 19. Money raised will be used to fund a free trip to the Gila River for the first 15 students who express an interest in the trip.  For more information about the Eco-Sustainability Club and its efforts, contact Patrice Mutchnick at 575-538-6642 or Patrice.Mutchnick@wnmu.edu.