Biddle Hall Cardboard

Students were encouraged to contribute cardboard and Styrofoam to collection piles near residence halls.

Photo courtesy of: Andrew Ladd

Recycling Sign

This campaign sign was made using recycled materials.

Photo courtesy of: Andrew Ladd

Students Recycling

OHIO students Brandt Taylor and Cody Adams organize recycling in one of the collection pile.

Photo courtesy of: Andrew Ladd

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Move-In recycling efforts yield high recovery rate

Organizers say a new awareness campaign helped the initiative

Ohio University's Sustainability Plan and Climate Action Plan is off to a strong start this year, with recent numbers showing a rate of approximately 95 percent of all cardboard and packing material used during Move-in Weekend recovered. This is one of the highest rates in recent years, according to OHIO Recycling and Refuse Manager Andrew Ladd, and the success was due in part to a recent unveiling of a new "Bobcats Recycle. It's What We Do!" campaign, which appeared just days before students arrived on the Athens Campus Aug. 22-25.  

The campaign, first conceived by the student-faculty liaison group Sustainable Ohio University Leaders (SOUL), is targeted toward increasing awareness of recycling efforts for new and returning students. This year the group chose to embody the "It's What We Do!" portion of their message wholeheartedly, using large canvases salvaged from the theater department and waste paint from renovation projects around campus to promote their message on large banners strategically placed on the residential greens.  

This translated into more than 26.7 tons of recyclable matter, including 23.8 tons of cardboard and a 24-foot box truck filled with leftover Styrofoam, a first for Campus Recycling according to Ladd.  

"It was a great participation from the students and parents," said Recycling Coordinator Henry Woods. "Many removed trash from cardboard and put items in the correct locations. I had one student thank me for our efforts to recycle. In my 15 years, I don't remember a student thanking me for our services."

Diligent efforts in the past few years between SOUL, the Office of Sustainability and the Ecology and Energy Conservation Committee have brought sustainability and climate action to the forefront of campus issues.

"Successful major event weekends such as Move-in, Move-out, Homecoming and football games not only represent important steps on our way to Ohio University's goal of achieving an 80 percent recycling rate," said Ladd. "They also represent powerful teaching tools in fostering and encouraging the ongoing cultural shift towards recycling."