South Dakota State paid almost $2,000 in recycling contamination fees last fiscal year.
Color changes to bins around campus and switching to mixed recycling bins should help reduce this problem, said Jennifer McLaughlin, sustainability coordinator.
Recycling bins are changing from green and blue separate bins for paper and other recyclables to just blue mixed recycling bins. This will only leave blue recycling and yellow trash bins throughout campus.
The change is part of an effort to make recycling easier on campus.
“The mixed recycling is ideal in helping it be easier for people to recycle because they don’t have to think. It can all just go in one bucket,” McLaughlin said.
Blue is a common color associated with recycling bins in the United States. Following this trend makes recycling bins more recognizable for people across the country.
Selene Tinklenberg, civil engineer major, said she thinks the change will help students improve recycling on campus.
“Blue is the color that registers with me,” Tinklenberg said. Her recycling bin at home is blue, so she’s used to throwing her recycling in blue bins.
McLaughlin hopes the color change and switch to mixed recycling will improve the recycling rate on campus. Last year’s recycling rate was 19 percent.
“With color coding change we’re really trying to push recycling and educate the campus on what can and can’t be recycled,” McLaughlin said. “Recycling is very confusing, there’s no doubt about that, so we’re trying to make that consistent.”
Not only does this change make recycling more visible to Nicole Wasserman, health education major, but she also appreciated how it fit along with SDSU colors.
She connects the color green with recycling efforts more easily but thinks using a common and consistent color will help people recycle more often.
“If (people coming to campus) are used to seeing blue colored recycling, then it’s probably easier to remember to recycle,” she said.
The changes will be at the football stadium first. The recycling changes should continue across campus throughout the fall semester.
Changes to the Student Union recycling bins aren’t planned yet. Union staff are still waiting to hear if the changes are possible and “economically practical,” McLaughlin said.