Bucknell Switches to Single-Stream Recycling

EAST BUFFALO TOWNSHIP — Bucknell University is thinking green by going blue, making it easier for students to recycle.

“See a blue bin, just toss it in!”

With that phrase, Bucknell University near Lewisburg is making campus recycling even easier.

In July, the school switched to single-stream recycling, meaning everything except food, foil and plastic wrap can be recycled in one container.

“When we first got here, they told us, ‘Okay, you have trash, which is like your food. Everything else goes in recycle bins,’ and there`s more recycle bins than there are trash cans now is what we`ve noticed,” said freshman Annie Horn.

“It`s pretty easy. You really don`t have to think about it. It`s a pretty simple concept so a lot of people have been able to take advantage of it and help the environment at the same time,” added freshman Scott Cohen.

University officials hope the new system will increase their recycling rate from 20 to about 60 percent.

“We had a lot of rules about what could and couldn`t be recycled in the past. Plastics we could only do number one and number two. Now we do all plastics, number one through seven. Cardboard had to be pristine clean. Now it can be, a pizza box has a little grease on it, it`s fine,” said Merritt Pedrick, associate director of operations at Bucknell.

The university used to have students and employees help with collecting and separating all the glass, plastic and more. Now, all the recyclables in the blue bins will be taken to a facility in Philadelphia where a machine does all the sorting.

“We’re hoping to see a lot more savings, not only to the tipping fees with the landfill, environmentally it makes a lot of sense, but also less labor for our folks. Less handling, less sorting, less transportation,” added Pedrick. “Easier is the key thing for us, but also environmentally, it’s a lot less going into the landfill.”

“I took AP environmental so I kind of know the effects of plastics on the environment and I think everyone should do it (recycle),” said freshman Lauren Wessan.

The university also plans to add two solar-powered compactors outside the student center. One for trash and one for recycling, they each hold up to 500 percent more material.