Ramapo Green finds new way to recycle on campus

Following a recent email sent out informing the residents of the Village and the College Park Apartments (CPAs), Ramapo Green hosted a discussion on healthy recycling habits and the truth behind being green last Thursday. The goal of this talk was to help students understand the importance of proper recycling as well as give them a glimpse into upcoming environmentally-friendly endeavors from the college. 

The email sent out last Wednesday detailed a new recycling program that will be implemented in the Village and the CPAs. Recycling will now be picked up outside of the dorm buildings, rather than having students drop their recyclables in a dumpster. Students are expected to bring their bins outside to the bottom-level of their buildings for pick up on Tuesdays for the Village and Wednesdays for the CPAs at 2 p.m.

A large issue with recycling on campus is the excess of waste comes from not only leaving liquid or food in recyclables, but also putting recyclables in plastic bags into the dumpsters.

The purpose of this change is to lessen the amount of contamination in the school’s recycling. Ramapo follows a system of single-stream recycling in which students can recycle multiple materials, like cardboard, bottles and cans, through the same bin. However, the school has an ever-increasing issue with contaminated recycling due to liquids left in bottles or grease on cardboard.

Supervisor of Building Services Nicole Jones and Director of the Sustainability Studies Master’s program Ashwani Vasishth discussed how contaminated recycling not only creates more waste, but also results in fines for Ramapo.

With recycling loads being considered “contaminated” if even one item in the bundle is contaminated, these costs per week are taking money from the school that could have gone elsewhere. “We are already paying for it to be picked up and then we are getting penalized on top of it,” Jones said.

A large issue with recycling on campus is the excess of waste comes from not only leaving liquid or food in recyclables, but also putting recyclables in plastic bags into the dumpsters. By putting it in a plastic bag, that load of recyclables is automatically deemed contaminated and thrown away. This is a recurring issue despite signs on recycling dumpsters stating that recyclables should not be disposed of in a bag.

Some proposed solutions to this issue include making more obvious signs. Enlarging the signs on the dumpster and painting the cot the dumpster sits in blue were two ideas. However, with the way things have been going, the attendees were unsure of the efficiency of this solution.

Senior and Sunrise RCNJ President Eden Brojakowski proposed that residential buildings put new magnets on the dorm fridges listing recycling guidelines. Another idea she mentioned was allowing Resident Assistants to pass out recycling flyers during their room checks. 

The other part of this new environmental initiative is compost pickup. Similar to the new recycling pickup, students would have to bring their compostable waste out to be picked up on Thursday at the CPAs by 12 p.m. and on Friday at the Village by 2 p.m. Compostable waste includes fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, bread and cooked rice. 

Ramapo has shown other recent initiatives in being green. Throughout the academic buildings, there are different flyers posted with various environmentally-friendly announcements for students. This includes making biodegradable fishing bobbers every Monday at 6 p.m., advertisements for the Plastic Pollution Coalition and guides on how to recycle certain materials, such as cigarette butts.

While the autumn season has the trees turning brown, Ramapo is trying to go green.



Featured photo by Peyton Bortner