A $28,442 grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will allow Monmouth College to “leave no stone unturned” when it comes to recycling.
The funding will allow the college to dramatically improve its recycling program by adding nearly 2,000 recycling receptacles. The new bins will be placed in all academic buildings, beneath every office desk, in every residence hall room and at major collection points in high-traffic areas. They include 1,300 6-gallon bins, 450 3.4-gallon bins and 186 65-gallon tote bins.
The new bins are a key part of the college’s recycling program, an ongoing effort that is in turn part of a larger sustainability initiative at Monmouth. Other steps have included the placement of an initial set of recycling collection bins in academic buildings and residence halls; the installation of energy-efficient lighting in 11 campus buildings; the purchase of a fleet of Prius hybrids for regional travel; and the opening of The Underground, an ecologically-oriented student café and coffee shop.
Monmouth College’s targeted waste stream includes the four major categories of traditional recyclables: fiber, plastic, metal and glass, with emphasis on fiber (paper), plastic and aluminum. The college is eager to capture recyclables from offices, classrooms and student residence halls that are currently disposed of in standard waste receptacles. By “leaving no recyclable unrecycled,” Monmouth College will be able to significantly increase the quantity of materials diverted from regional landfills, while at the same time generating income for the Maple City Recycling Center, a Monmouth business.
“Given our estimated volume increases, we would expect the number of the center’s pickups to increase by at least a factor of three, increasing its annual revenue by about $6,000,” said Don Gladfelter, MC’s vice president for business and finance, who has spearheaded the college’s energy-efficiency and recycling programs. “That’s an increase in expense that the college will be pleased to incur.”
Gladfelter explained that Monmouth College’s first institutional efforts at recycling began in the 2008-09 academic year.
“Prior to this period, all recycling efforts were voluntary, chaotic and discontinuous,” he said. “In 2008, we initiated a partnership with Maple City Recycling involving weekly collection. The center has played, and will continue to play, a crucial role in our recycling stream.”
Bren Tooley, director of MC’s grants program, sees the substantial increase in recycling as a win for all parties involved.
“As Monmouth College draws even more students into its recycling initiative and cultivates student interest in environmental action, student-driven community projects will help promote recycling in the City of Monmouth itself, where participation in recycling is at present flat,” she said. “This, too, could help the city financially and is a general community good.”
The expanded recycling program will be administered by MC’s facilities management team, which is directed by Earl Wilfong.
The Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity is the lead state agency responsible for improving Illinois’ competitiveness in the global economy. Guided by an innovative regional approach, DCEO administers a wide range of economic and workforce development programs, services and initiatives designed to create and retain high quality jobs and build strong communities. DCEO leads the Illinois economic development process in partnership with businesses, local governments, workers and families.