Photo by Terra Atwood
Students and faculty must now sort their waste into trash and recycling bins. Pepperdine made this switch after the university began using Waste Management as their waste hauler on Aug. 15.
The university used Crown Disposal since 2000 to provide single stream recycling, in which students disposed of their trash in one bin, that was later sorted off campus.
“The Center for Sustainability, in conjunction with the Department of Facilities Services, spent several months interviewing prospective vendors to identify one that could provide us with the same program we’d been using … but we were unable to identify one that could provide that,” Founding Director of the Center for Sustainability Rhiannon Bailard said.
Coordinator of the Center for Sustainability Emily Mead views the transition as a learning opportunity for students.
“I’m excited because students can learn how to recycle and separate out their materials, and they are probably going to be doing it that way for the rest of their lives,” Mead said. “From an educational standpoint, I’m really excited.”
Student Meagan Smith said the transition gives her more confidence in where her recyclables are going.
“I think most people are a little skeptical of the one bin sorting,” Smith said. “I don’t know how to believe [that waste is being recycled] exactly. Being able to see, I’m specifically sorting this, it’s not that much more work.”
NSO served as the pilot for the new system.
“During move in, I was actually really impressed with how the recycling system was going,” Palmeri said. “All the cardboard had been [put] in the recycling bin, so that’s really exciting to see … it’ll be interesting once the returners get back to campus because they are used to the single stream system.”
Trash receptacles in faculty offices have also been replaced with recycling bins. Faculty can either dispose of trash in bins in common areas or order smaller trash bin attachments from the Center for Sustainability.
“There are no trash cans anymore, so people have to think about how much recycling they’re producing versus trash,” Mead said.
Mead said she hopes this transition begins a larger shift toward the campus sending less waste to landfills.
“We are going to start composting food waste in the cafeteria prep areas,” Mead said. “Students can eventually put all of their food waste in green bins on campus.”
The addition of compost bins would increase the campus’s diversion rate, or the amount of waste that does not go to landfills.
“A lot of what is produced in terms of waste is either food waste or recycling,” Mead said. “A really, really small amount is trash. If we can get all three streams on campus, I think we will be very successful in reusing materials, recycling materials and ensuring we are not putting waste into landfills.”