Faculty, students clarify program

Lucy Li, Staff Writer

Although there have been consistent efforts to improve recycling on the Pitt-Johnstown campus, many reports indicate that these efforts have not been effective.

Chemistry professor Manisha Nigam, a member of a recycling committee on campus, said recycling efforts have been ineffective mainly because of a lack of education.

“There are mainly three parts of recycling. The consumer end, which are the students; the receiver end, which is the Physical Plant (employees) end; and what’s missing is education about recycling.”

According to a Nov. 6 Advocate issue, a student said having multiple recycling bins is confusing.

Nigam, in response to the multiple bins causing confusion, said it is because, if everything is thrown in one bin, it will all be contaminated.

She said that the Physical Plant employees are strict with what can be recycled, and they will throw out the whole bag if it is contaminated.

“Any blue bin is for full-sheet paper only. They can be folded, but not shredded or torn.

“With plastics bottles, pour out the liquid and make sure the lids are on.”

Nigam said that bottles without lids are still recyclable.

Due to the small size of the lids, they could get stuck in machinery.

Cardboard such as boxes are also recyclable, but pizza boxes are not, said Nigam.

“Cardboard boxes can be set aside, custodial staff will take them. But no pizza boxes or yogurt containers. Keep it clean.”

She also said she agreed that not many people are aware of the Bring Back The Bottle activity that employees at The Tuck Shop, The Pitt Stop and The Daily Grind are doing.

“We are approaching faculty members to share about it in their classrooms.

“We are also trying to involve the Student Government Association and resident assistants.

“Freshmen halls have recycling bins, townhouses do not and the College Park Apartments have bins but nobody takes the recyclables away.

“There needs to be better communication with facilities management workers,” she said.

Nigam also said that the recycling committee is appointing members on the committee to different academic halls to overlook recycling.

Susan Ma, a member of both the Green Team and the recycling committee, said she is in charge of checking Krebs Hall.

“I go around making sure there are no bottles in the paper bins as well as making sure any posters that are out of date get put into the paper bins,” Ma said.

“(We are) all accountable for the high carbon footprint, which is causing climate change and other problems,” she said.

Ma said she thinks recycling is important because it is a way to reduce waste.

“By recycling, products that have served their time are now able to become new products.

“Not only does this benefit the community, but the environment as well.”

The reason they are promoting recycling, said Nigam, is that she believes it is the responsibility of every person on this planet.

Green Team treasurer and secretary Hayley McEvoy said they have built a pollinator garden between Biddle Hall and the Owen Library.

“(The garden) was funded by (money) from the Biology Department. We receive $1,000 a semester for three semesters.

“There are just flowers in there now, (but we might be) putting bee boxes in next semester,” she said.

McEvoy said she isn’t sure whether they are going to put bee boxes in the garden.

If they do, she said, it will be solitary bees which will not bother people.

“(But) we might just use the bees on campus and hopefully they will be drawn to the garden.

“We hope to make this campus a green campus,” McEvoy said.

Nigam said they are trying to get students, faculty and staff involved in recycling.

Ma said she is working with people on the recycling committee to encourage others to recycle.

“‘Recycling Bank’ is a type of initiative that clubs and resident halls can participate in.

“Essentially, people will bring recyclables to a designated location and the group who brings the most will win some type of prize.

“This is just one of the many ideas coming up in the near future.”

Nigam emphasized on the importance of not contaminating the recycling bins.

“When in doubt, throw it out (in garbage receptacles),” she said.