Where have all of the recycling bins gone?

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Many students have noticed the reduction of paper and bottle recycling bins on campus. What does this mean for UNBSJ as a “green” campus?

The paper recycling bins are maintained and emptied by the custodial staff at UNBSJ. At one time, there were recycling bins next to every garbage can on campus, but it was found that students were abusing these bins by throwing garbage and other non-recyclable items into them.

The bins have now been placed strategically around campus in areas of high paper consumption such as the Hans W. Klohn Commons and the computer labs. Bradley Walsh, the president of the Green Society says that if students aren’t happy with the locations of the recycling bins on campus, there is a simple remedy. “You can send in a request to the cleaners,” he says, “just ask them for a bag in [a certain] location and they should be happy to put one there. They have all kinds of bags still.”

The bottle and can recycling program was started three years ago by the Green Society. The Green Society is a club whose goal is to provide students with greener opportunities, products and facilities. These bins are the responsibility of a paid recycling co-ordinator, who recruits and organizes volunteers and decides what organizations get the proceeds from the bottle or can deposits.

For a while, the Green Society would donate proceeds to whichever group on campus asked for them, but they have recently been approached by World University Services Canada (WUSC) who have since been the recipients of all bottle and can proceeds. “For us, it’s not so much about getting the money, we’re in it for the recycling,” says Walsh. The Green Society also has a program that allows different groups on campus to adopt a bin, where they become responsible for emptying and maintaining their bins and the group keeps the proceeds.

Walsh says the Green Society is always looking for more volunteers to run the recycling program. “Anyone who is interested in volunteering is welcome to and we usually get a fairly good handful of students who are passionate about recycling,” he says.

Time commitment for volunteering varies depending on the location of your bin. Bins in high-traffic areas on campus may need to be emptied several times a week while others may only need to be attended to every two to three weeks.  The Green Society has upwards of twenty unused bins that could be placed around campus to collect recyclables, “We just need volunteers to do it,” says Walsh.

The Green Society has a number of other initiatives to make UNBSJ a greener campus. They’re currently working on a community garden that would allow students and the general public to rent a small plot to grow food.

The Green society is also involved in fixing up the trail system by removing debris and manicuring the trails behind the university so that students have access to natural scenery. They’re also working on reducing the amount of waste that comes out of UNBSJ through various recycling programs, as well a compost program that is in the works with the cafeteria.

If you’re interested in joining the Green Society or would like to adopt a bin, email unbgreensociety@gmail.com