When Washtenaw Community College students and employees returned to campus in January 2019 after the holiday break, they were greeted by 90 new recycling and waste stations placed in corridors, lobbies and other common spaces around campus.

Approximately 90 new recycling stations were placed around Washtenaw Community College in January. | Photo by Kelly Gampel

The college’s Recycle Operations department placed the stations with the goal of making the college’s recycling efforts even more easy, accessible and effective.

“WCC has long boasted an engaged and active recycling community,” said Recycle Operations Manager Rebecca Andrews. “The new stations are easier to use; have standardized signage, colors and shapes; and should help to further reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.”

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Andrews expects the college’s landfill diversion rate to increase substantially because of the new stations, which include three large receptacles with different colored covers. Andrews said the uniformity of how the identical stations are positioned across campus will help students, faculty and staff develop habits that will increase the amount of waste that ends up in recycling bins.

Recycling is actually the third priority for waste according the hierarchy used by the Recycle Operations department: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover and Dispose.

“Our No. 1 aim is to reduce the production of waste,” Andrews said. She said a couple simple examples used around campus include encouraging students, faculty and staff to use double-sided printing and to purchase refillable coffee cups and water bottles.

WCC faculty and staff also can request an organic waste bin for their kitchenette or break room. The compost and castings produced by that program are used in the Washtenaw Technical Middle College vegetable garden on campus.