South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

Realistic recycling: Reduce, reuse, rejoice for off-campus sustainability options


When moving off campus, SDSU students have different recycling options to think about when finding a place to live.

There are different opportunities and things to think about when wanting to recycle and reduce energy while living off campus.

When living in an apartment, SDSU’s Sustainability Specialist Jennifer McLaughlin said to reduce energy, keep the thermostat higher in the summer and lower in the winter, unplug devices and appliances that are not in use and switch to LED light bulbs.

A few of these actions are what senior advertising major Alex Stetter does in her apartment to reduce waste and save energy.

“I grew up in a household that recycled, so it kind of followed me to college,” Stetter said. “I obviously recycle the basics, which my apartment offers, and then I take aluminum cans to Cook’s and they pay us five cents.”

Stetter said even though recycling might not be a priority for college students, it can become a habit after starting with something small, like using a reusable water bottle or sorting cardboard.

Certain apartments, townhomes and houses might not provide recycling through the property management company, so the renter has to make decisions about whether or not to recycle.

“We have a lot of homes for colleges students, and they have to pay their own utilities, so it is ultimately up to them if they want to recycle or not,” Brookings Property Manager Beth Bortnem said.

People still have the option to recycle by bringing items like cardboard, paper, drinking cartons and aluminum cans to Cook’s Wastepaper and Recycling, almost three miles from SDSU.

Amy Diedrich, regional property supervisor for Mills Property Management, said being environmentally and energy efficient is a priority for them along with recycling.

“At our office alone, we recycle paper, cardboard and printer cartridges, and at our properties, we provide most with recycling bins,” Diedrich said. “We also salvage parts from older appliances and vehicle batteries with our maintenance crew.”

Mills Property Management also offers gardens or raised flower beds for people who want to plant on the property.

Stetter did something similar to what Mills Property Management does by making garden space available.

“I attempted to grow herbs in my apartment last year to kind of help the environment and save money, but even though it didn’t really work out, it’s the thought that counts,” she said.

Growing herbs and other plants is a good way to reduce waste, save energy and live a little more sustainably.

Pushing more sustainability efforts is something Mills Property Management is looking toward in the future.

Diedrich said Mills Construction is working on a project called the Farmstead in White, South Dakota.

They are repurposing the old nursing home in White, which will be finished on the first of June.

“There are 12 apartments and a lot of commercial space for potentially a restaurant, hair salon, fitness center, daycare and others,” Diedrich said. “This is a huge thing that we see as a way to stay sustainable and turn into something that can be multipurpose.”

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