Going Greener: SUNY Canton Decreases Waste by 21 Percent

More people created less waste last year at SUNY Canton.

The College’s facilities department recently noted that the entire College produced just over 69 tons of garbage in 2009, a 21 percent decrease from the 2008 calendar year. The year also saw more than 5,000 total students enrolled and approximately 500 full- and part-time faculty and staff members.

SUNY Canton students Catherine Whalen of Amherst, Rachel Michelangelo of Hamburg, and Erin Orvis of Clayton helping with the College’s RecycleMania program.

SUNY Canton students Catherine Whalen of Amherst, Rachel Michelangelo of Hamburg, and Erin Orvis of Clayton helping with the College’s RecycleMania program.

“We’ve made a remarkable dent in our trash, especially in light of our record enrollment,” said SUNY Canton President Joseph L. Kennedy. “Part of the reduction stems from an overall campus awareness about reducing paper usage, becoming more eco-friendly and saving money.”

SUNY Canton is participating in RecycleMania, an international competition for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities on their campus communities. The ten-week competition began on Jan. 17 and ends March 27, according to Matthew J. Burnett, who works with students in the Green Campus Committee and is an Assistant Professor in the Graphic and Multimedia Design program.

DKS brothers standing around a recycling dumpster

“Last year, we participated in the benchmark division of the competition, which allowed us to gauge our recycling efforts,” Burnett said. “As second-year participants of the program, the campus will be able to compare outgoing trash and recycling levels to last year.”

Colleges in all 50 states and six international universities participate in RecycleMania.

“Our students really have made this program a success,” Burnett added. “We’ve partnered with some of our College’s Greeks and other student organizations to move the project forward.”

Three students peering into a recycling dumpsterMany of the courses and departments are making the effort to reduce paper usage. The printers and copiers in the library have been set to print on both sides of one sheet of paper, and the campus Telecom department has switched to an online, automated phone billing process. The College’s online division, SUNY CantonOL, has seen an increased number of faculty members encouraging students to print out less materials for their online classes, further realizing the full potential of the ANGEL online learning platform.

The SUNY Canton Athletic Department will be collecting used cell phones and printer cartridges as part of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee’s “Make a Difference” recycling program this year with collection points around campus.

The College uses Casella Waste Management’s Zero-Sort recycling program. Each person is only needs to separate their recyclables from ordinary waste to help with the ongoing sustainability. By using this system, Physical Plant staff members are able to calculate the total amount of non-recyclable garbage removed from the campus annually.

Media inquiries should be directed to Gregory Kie, Media Relations Coordinator, or call 315/386-7528.

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