Montana State University

MSU students recycle more, send less trash to the landfill

August 14, 2015 -- Anne Cantrell, MSU News Service

Montana State University residence hall advisors gather near new recycling bins in the North Hedges hall. In fiscal year 2014, MSU’s residence halls recycled 10,705 pounds of material, while in fiscal year 2015, the total pounds of recycled materials from the residence halls at MSU jumped to 32,601. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham

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Students in Montana State University’s residence halls recycled significantly more in the last fiscal year than they did during the previous fiscal year, while the amount of trash going to the landfill has also been reduced, according to MSU Residence Life.

In fiscal year 2014, MSU’s residence halls recycled 10,705 pounds of material, while in fiscal year 2015, the total pounds of recycled materials from the residence halls at MSU jumped to 32,601, according to James Tobin, assistant director of MSU Residence Life. To put the amount into perspective, 32,600 pounds is approximately equal in weight to about six cars, Tobin said.

In addition, the amount of garbage going to the landfills from MSU’s residence halls was reduced from 11,540 pounds in spring semester 2014 to 7,460 pounds in spring semester 2015, Tobin said.

"The Residence Life staff and students have been working very hard to increase awareness and efforts to reduce the amount of trash going to the landfill, and I'm proud of the work that has been done by the entire team,” Tobin said. “Residence Life is also extremely thankful for the help of not only the MSU Office of Sustainability, but also the City of Bozeman for helping to make all of this happen."

Tobin added the university has been working for several years to improve the ease of recycling and increase the amount of materials that are recycled. One such effort has been a partnership between MSU Residence Life, MSU Office of Sustainability and the City of Bozeman to introduce a “single-stream” recycling program in the residence halls, where recyclable materials do not need to be sorted – rather all materials, including paper, plastic and aluminum can be collected in one bin.

MSU’s Residence Life Department also sponsors a swap table in each residence hall at the end of the academic year. The effort is intended to enable items to be shared more easily among students, and consequently save more items from the trash.

Tobin said that Residence Life staff plans to continue to work to raise awareness with students about ways to be more sustainable with recycling and other efforts.

Contact: James Tobin, assistant director, MSU Residence Life, (406) 994-2661 or jtobin@montana.edu