Wilson College Recycling Rumors Brought to Light

By Bailey Miller

Throughout Wilson College, the question of where our garbage goes has inspired conflicting rumors. Many students want to know, are materials thrown into the recycling bin truly recycled? After speaking with Lori Heinbaugh, Assistant Director of the Physical Plant, the answer is both yes and no.

The Physical Plant supervises the maintenance, repairs, landscaping, and housekeeping activities carried out on campus. They are also in charge of collaborating with Chambersburg Waste Paper to ensure that recycling is being removed and processed.

In the past, the Physical Plant partnered with the Chambersburg Borough to to set up “a recycling dumpster…that was co-mingle so we could throw anything in there,” Lori says. Then, Wilson made the switch to partner with Chambersburg Waste Paper, though the reason for the switch was not given. Unfortunately, Chambersburg Waste Paper only accepts cardboard and paper.

Lori continued to describe the issues associated with this switch, saying the dumpster for the cardboard and paper “gets filled really quickly, because we have a lot of cardboard…as far as plastic and aluminum, that does not go in there, so that does not get recycled.”

These recycling bins are quickly filled with cardboard boxes because individuals do not break them down properly. Unfortunately, this means anything that does not fit goes into the compactor, meaning it will not be recycled.

The WCGA placed recycling stations around campus in hopes that it would encourage students to recycle. However, these recycling stations are misleading. The recycling stations “just say ‘recycling’ so people don’t know that it’s just paper and cardboard,” Lori says.

The recycling stations also have a section just for bottles and cans, but these materials are not being recycled on campus. This change was never communicated; in fact, the trash cans in the Field House still say that we are partnered with the Chambersburg Borough.

There are many changes Wilson could make to their waste management policies, but there is some comfort in knowing that the Physical Plant is working to recycle as much as possible. Lori states that the past director insisted that they install a dumpster for metal materials, but there is still much more that could be done.

Lori says that she’s “not sure if Chambersburg Waste Paper does do the co-mingle and we could change to that,” but expenses play a role in this as well. She explained, “I’m not sure why we did what we did, what we changed…if there’s something else that we can do, if we have the staff who can do it, we’ll surely do what we can.”

The Physical Plant will do as much as possible, but students also have responsibilities. Lori encourages everyone to “break our boxes down” when recycling to allow for more space, and to “not put food in with the recycling. Clean it out.”

If policies are clearly communicated, and we can continue to recycle paper and cardboard, then our duty as students is fulfilled. However, the question of whether we should change to a company that accepts all forms of recyclables lingers. Let’s not limit ourselves to only recycling paper and carboard, and focus on doing as much as we can to maintain an ecologically-conscious campus.

Leave a Reply