New Recycling System Saves


Students recycle plastic outside of their town house.

Alicia Stavitzki, Reporter

A new recycling system is helping campus become more eco-friendly.

​In the past, the university had to recycle paper and plastic separately. Now, under the new system, it is a lot easier and more efficient because everything can be recycled together.

​   Darcy Brodmerkel, Director of Student Activities, said Student Government and the Peer Advocates pushed the initiative.

​   “Our garbage contract was up so when we met with the garbage companies this summer, we talked about ways we can keep costs level, and one of the ways that we could keep costs from increasing was to focus more on recycling,” said Mark Van Etten, Director of Facilities and Auxiliary Services.

​   Because the garbage company is not paying landfill fees to get rid of the garbage, they are able to pick it up less expensively.

​“It’s great because they’re taking it to the recycling center, as opposed to the landfill,” said Van Etten. “We are able to keep costs even with a very minimal increase.”

​   The new bundling rule has made recycling in the Metz and Cougars Den a lot easier.

​   “Previously, the cafeteria was really only recycling cardboard, so now they will be able to recycle plastics, bottles, and tin cans all together,” explained Van Etten. Recyclables no longer need to be separated. ​

“There used to only be recycling of bottles and paper and we could collect it that way. We would take it to the dumpster that was compartmented and put all of the cardboard in open top dumpsters and then a large one for plastic bottles. Now it’s a lot easier and time efficient,” said Van Etten.

​Bruce Deeble, General Manager of Metz, said that the recycling of tin cans with other recycled trash is providing more of an incentive for everyone to recycle their trash.

​“We’ve always recycled our plastics and bottles in the Cougar’s Den, but now we can recycle tin cans with cardboards and plastics. It’s easier because we don’t have to separate it,” said Deeble.

Metz is taking a big step in becoming more eco-friendly in ways that exceed even the new recycling protocol.

​   “This year all of our take outs are biodegradable. We don’t use any Styrofoam on campus, either. Also, everyone is going to receive a plastic cup, so that if they do want to take food out, they have to bring their cup in. This saves us from throwing away food,” stated Deeble.

​Last year, Cougars for Change  helped conduct a test to see how much food was actually wasted, and Deeble said they found about 130 lbs. of edible food discarded during one meal period. He said later measurements showed that the amount of discarded trash was dropping. “We’re going to do that again this semester about three or four times and make people aware of it.”

He added that another Metz program rewards students who clean their plates. Students receive ticket stamps for finishing their food, and once they get ten stamps, they receive a token for Cougar Points or Flex Dollars.

He said the motto is “Eat what you take, and what you take, make sure you eat.”

“We don’t want food thrown in landfills because when you fill landfills up with food, you get methane gas, and that’s terrible for the environment,” said Deeble.

​Joy Mack, fourth year business administration major is enthusiastic about the university’s initiative.

​“I see friends all the time racking up stamps from cleaning their plates to cash into prizes at the Den. I found myself wasting food before and I never realized it until we were getting rewarded for cleaning our plates. I think this is a great motivator to waste less food in the cafeteria,” said Mack.

​Many students are excited about the incentives. Kaitlin Hall, third year English and communications major, thinks it is a good idea because people in college tend to waste a substantial amount food.

“It’s an incentive to take only what you want, eat what you can eat, and that’s it. If you want more, you can always go back,” said Hall.

Meghan Maccarone, a second year occupational therapy major, said that she looks at it from a commuter’s perspective.

“It’s actually a little bit more of an incentive to go in there because it gives back to us at some point,” said Maccarone.

Some students think it will cut down on costs.

“I like it; I’m sure it will help the school save food and money,” said Olivia Katulka, first year undecided major.

Brodmerkel said that in the past, Misericordia had not been doing the best job with recycling.

“Sustainability of our earth is something that the Sisters of Mercy are looking to strive for, so we are just keeping in check, and doing what we should to help our environment,” said Brodmerkel.

“I think that it is great that Misericordia is focusing more on recycling, especially since the Sisters of Mercy are concerned about sustainability,” said Mack.