MURRAY, Ky. — Getting recyclables to their new home is a two-part job at Murray State University, and it all starts with source separation. As campus dining shifts to recyclable food containers, like the BOTTLEBOX®, the University community has even more opportunities to decrease the waste going to landfills.
“Getting more people involved is the biggest desire we have right now,” said Rick Grogan, associate director of grounds and custodial services for Murray State’s Facilities Management.
In the office and classroom, smaller containers are delegated for certain recyclables: blue for white office paper and red for mixed office paper. Taller bins with wheels are also located around campus and are comprised of receptacles collecting aluminum cans, plastics and mixed paper.
“We are required by a Kentucky statute to recycle a certain percentage of our solid waste materials,” Grogan explained. “It’s not something we take lightly.”
The Murray State community can also help by placing broken down boxes beside the recycling centers. The Recycling Line at 270-809-3183 can be called for large amounts of broken down cardboard. For other special recycling pick-ups, anyone may use the Recycling Line to contact the grounds maintenance foreman.
Last year, Facilities Management recycled 111.7 tons of cardboard, 66.9 tons of paper, 7,745 pounds of copper, 6,609 pounds of plastic, 2,380 pounds of glass, 1,290 pounds of aluminum, approximately 800 gallons of oil and 51 automotive batteries.
The recycling facility at Murray State’s North Farm — where the University transports its recyclables to be processed — hosts a recycling day open to the public on the first Saturday of every month from 8 a.m. to noon. On these recycling days, anyone can bring a car full of recyclables that employees will unload and sort.
The recycling facility at the North Farm was a collaborative effort between the University, the county and the city that was created to receive recyclable materials from all three entities.
“A good bit of our faculty and a lot of our students are really recycling and sustainability-minded, so they help us with our initiatives,” Grogan said.
Mike Gowen, a professor in the University’s nonprofit leadership studies program, has played a major role in Murray State’s sustainability efforts, serving as the principal grant writer for grants awarded to the University from the Kentucky Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet. These grants resulted in more than $200,000 in upgrades for Murray State’s North Farm recycling facility.
“It’s important that the University model sustainable practices because it is the environmentally and fiscally responsible thing to do,” Gowen said.
While students are away on breaks, the city hosts Make-A-Difference Days in the Roy Stewart Stadium parking lot. On these days, anyone in the community may bring their recyclables and place them in the designated receptacles.
The Make-A-Difference Days began in 1996 in an effort to provide local citizens with a place to recycle paper, used motor oil, used eyeglasses, aluminum, glass, plastics and food staples.