The Center for Sustainable Communities has received a $1,000 grant from the Winneshiek County Area Solid Waste Agency. This money will be used, in combination with funds from the Luther College Sustainability Grant Fund, to purchase personal recycling bins for all rooms in Brandt Hall for the 2014-15 school year.
The Brandt recycling plan stemmed from a student project started in an Environmental Studies Senior Seminar last year. The bins will be placed in Brandt room on move-in day, and will be treated like all other Residence Life furniture: students will be fined for damages or replacement costs at the end of the year. The bins will also come with large stickers outlining recycling guidelines, and students will be responsible for transporting their collected recyclables to larger, outdoor recycling receptacles located next to Brandt.
The need for personal recycling bins was determined after a 2011 waste audit revealed that 45.9% of the waste in the Brandt dumpster was non-landfill material, meaning it should have either been recycled or composted. Subsequent focus groups and surveys revealed that a 'lack of convenience' was preventing many Brandt residents from recycling, even if they understood recycling guidelines.
Brandt residents will also receive a mini-trashcan for non-recyclable materials. Studies show that size does matter, and simply using a smaller trashcan and a larger recycling bin can help to reorient behavior.
Over a period of 10 months, this program is estimated to divert approximately 3,722 pounds of materials from the landfill. If successful, the program will likely be implemented in other Residence Halls on campus.