Sunday, March 18, 2007


What if trashcans were provided around campus for plastic bags? We are already encouraged to recycle paper, plastic bottles, and aluminum cans, so why not plastic bags?


Michelle Verges, Project Director said...


You're a pioneer! This is an issue that's been discussed with the recycling committee (yep, I'm on that committee!).

So here's the underlying issue (it's a two-part deal):

1a. The state of Indiana does not have facilities to recycle plastic bags.

1b. The state of Indiana does not have the infrastructure (e.g., storage facility, machines to bale plastic bags) to recycle plastic bags.

It's going to take millions of dollars to bring plastic-bag recycling to Indiana.

I just had this conversation with Susan O'Brien, Account Manager of Waste Management last week. She said we need a savvy businessperson(s) on our side.

To me, this is a no-brainer: Bringing these facilities to Indiana would introduce more jobs to the state. Those businesses would also profit from selling plastic bags to other businesses, like Trex and AERT. And it's good for the environment.

This is a win-win situation!

I also spoke about this issue with Jeff Ashby, Co-Owner of Rocky Mountain Recycling, last week (after my conversation with Susan). Jeff is a visionary. I suspect he's got some remarkable ideas on how to bring plastic-bag recycling to Indiana. I'm very excited to hear what he has to say about this at BagFest.

But to answer your question, Ashley, the reason why we don't have those bins available for plastic bags, is because someone(s) would have to take those bags to Wal-Mart for recycling on a regular basis, since this state lacks the resources for recycling plastic bags.

Any volunteers?

:0) M

Andrea L. said...

Last night before going to bed I was thinking about chapter 6 on paper recycling. I typically print double sided when I print larger documents, but I sometimes forget when printing shorter documents. I am sure I am not alone. Some students may not even know how to change the printing preferences to print double sided. I am sure that universities go through considerable amounts of paper. What’s worse is that our school uses only 30% recycled paper. I found a statistic from IU that said 15% of paper is left behind as unwanted paper in computer labs. I know that 99% of the time when I print off a document it is for my own personal use. It doesn’t need to be only ‘higher quality’ paper, that is if it is even higher quality paper than 100% post consumer material. It would be a simple change to have the printers defaulted to double-sided. We could also encourage professors to ask their students to turn in assignments on double sided paper. I wonder if the recycling committee has considered this idea… Does anyone know?

Anonymous said...

Andrea, I'm glad you brought this up because I talked about this in my Royte paper. In addition to the facts that you named, the labs in Wiekamp discourage double-sided printing. There is a sign posted that says that it jams the printer. I would also add that sometimes students reprint because they don't know which printer their copy went to and they can't find it in the mess of papers coming out of the printer due to some students printing large volumes. Although it's nice to have the powerpoint slides that professors put up, it also uses a lot of paper and ink to print them. There has to be a happy medium.

Andrea L. said...


It is frustrating that the lab staff discourage double sided printing. I have noticed that printing double sided slows down the printing process, but that is really a minor inconvenience. As far as paper jams, how often does that really happen?? And what else does the lab staff have to do? I am sure they can find time to fix the occasional paper jam. Ugh....

I have a feeling if there was a reasonable paper allowance per student, that students would be more conscientious about what they printed. However, I don't know if that would be a fair practice. Some students have majors/classes that require printing off documents...