Single Stream Recycling at Fairfield

Submitted by JessicaW on September 20, 2011

All Together Now!

Over the past 10 years, Fairfield University has become more environmentally conscious and “green,” especially this year when the Single Stream Recycling system was put into place. Single Stream Recycling is a system that is extremely simple for the consumer because anything recyclable is able to be placed in the same bin. According to Dana August ’11, who is leading this effort, an expected 30-35% increase in the total tonnage of recyclables that are taken off campus will result.

“Single stream recycling is a process allowing anything that can be recycled to be placed in the same bin,” says August. “Once the items reach the processing plant, they are separated by type and recycled via various heating and melting processes. This system makes it much more convenient for us as consumers to recycle, as we don’t have to worry about separating our trash.”

Items that are able to be recycled in any bins on campus include:

  • All paper
  • Flattened cardboard
  • Empty cardboard food containers
  • Empty cartons
  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Metal and aluminum
  • All plastic containers
  • All glass products

Although it is extremely simple and easy for the consumer, there are some things that are not able to be placed in the bins and must be thrown away, such as:

  • Any containers contaminated by food
  • Styrofoam
  • Batteries
  • Electronics
  • Lightbulbs
  • Plastic bags

“If a few things that aren’t recyclable get in the system,” says August, “it’s easy to remedy as it will be sorted out. If too many non-recycleables are in the system, however, that whole grouping of items becomes ‘contaminated’ and must be diverted to a landfill. The biggest contaminants include food and plastic bags – neither of these can be in the recycling stream.”

With the increase in availability of recycling bins and awareness around campus, Fairfield is succeeding in its effort to create a clean and more environmentally friendly campus. The Environmental Residence College (ERC) for sophomores, in its early years, is growing in popularity and includes 84 students who reside in Claver Hall. The ERC also holds its own events such as decorating boxes to serve as recycling bins in students’ rooms.

  • If anyone does not have access to a recycling bin or has any questions regarding the Single Stream Recycling system, Dana August may be reached by email at daugust@student.fairfield.edu.
  • Learn more about Single Stream Recycling and how you can get involved in the green movement at Fairfield.

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