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March 20, 2014

Get an early start on Earth Day by recycling

Recycling Bins

By Tara Harris


Before you throw away those canned and bottled beverages in the trash, take a moment to take the welfare of the environment into consideration.

One beneficial habit to adopt is recycling. Recycling is one way to help the environment we share flourish.

At Cleveland State, there are more than 200 recycling containers located around campus. There are recycling containers located on campus in almost every hallway, classroom and in copy room areas.

The custodial staff collects the recycling in a specific location in each building and our movers transport the items to a central pick up location specified by the vendor. The recyclables go to a recycling facility operated by our vendor after being collected.

“We have been building our containers from both capital funds as well as operating funds,” said Shehadeh Abdelkarim, Director of Facilities Management Department of Facilities & Safety.

Last year, Cleveland State collected 137 tons of recyclables.

“Our earth has limited resources. The more we recycle and reuse the better out future will be,” said Abdelkarim. “[Recycling] is also economical since we get paid for recycling while we pay for trash hauling.”

Adelkarim and his facilities have plans for encouraging recycling around campus.

“We had several actions in the past and this year we plan to work with student government and student groups during Earth Day to promote more action,” he said.

Earth Day is coming up in April and it highlights the magnitude of environmental protection. It’s never too late to start making a change for the better and lending a helping hand towards mother Earth’s preservation.

“It would be a healthy habit to start up and the more people that do it, the more awareness for this habit will spread, the more recylcing bins will become available at varieties of locations and the healthier our planet and nation's pockets will be,” said Natassia Tirado, a Communications Management major.

Almost every city has programs for recycling but their pick up process may vary and some cities like Mayfield Heights require you to drop off your recyclables. Check your city's local website for more information.

Some people may feel recycling is a hassle. But cities are making recycling an easy process.

The city of Cleveland allows residents to put all recyclables without separation in one container known as a “single stream” process.

Cleveland has also implemented a major change in their recycling process in which they are no longer accepting plastic bags. “Don’t Bag It” is their slogan. They have been receiving items that are non recyclable which leads to contamination.

The importance of recycling is evident.

According to the environmental protection agency, recycling helps clean the air, land and water, and leads to better health.

Recycling one glass jar will save enough energy to light a 100 watt bulb for four hours. Recycling one ton of paper saves an amount of energy that is equivalent to 165 gallons of gasoline. In addition, recycling a ton of aluminum cans saves as much energy as 1,665 gallons of gasoline.

The recycling logo of three arrows represents the three steps in recycling materials. The collection and processing of materials is first. Next is the process of manufacturing the recycled material into new materials. The last course of action is the purchasing of items made with recycled materials by consumers.

Some people may not consistently recycle but understand its’ impact on the environment.

“I think it is important to recycle, I just don't do it but if I am at school the recycling bins encourages me to place the right item in the correct bin,” said Janice Lewis, a Communications major. “When you have a lot of people in your home, I think recycling does make sense to help keep the landfills with degradable trash. There is only me, so I would have to accumulate a lot to recycle”, she added.

More people are recycling now than ever. The EPA recorded 10 percent of Americans recycled in 1980 and 35 percent recycled in 2012.

“My family recycles daily. Our neighborhood is required to do so and now I recylce anything if possible at school or anywhere else that has the recycle bins available,” said Tirado, “I think it's important to recycle because we waste so many materials each day that companies will put money towards once again to remake. I think that land space for landfills and money for materials being used will be saved if more people start recycling.”

To encourage recycling, Cuyahoga county solid waste management district awards grants for recycling programs to Cuyahoga county schools, non profits and communities. $195,476 was awarded between 37 communities and 27 schools and non profits.

What to recycle:
(Cities request that all containers be rinsed before recycling)
All glass beverage and food containers
Aluminum cans such as canned food containers, beer and soda cans
Plastics with the numbers 1-7 located on containers
Paper including cardboard, newspapers, magazines and junk mail

What not to recycle:
Plastic bags (depending on city, check your city’s website for more information)
Pizza boxes that are stained with grease and food particles
Yard waste
Hazardous waste
Broken glass