University recycling program: An undercover job

Many students at TCU are not aware of the systems the campus uses to recycle, which can lead to the feeling that TCU doesn’t recycle at all, a sociology instructor said.

“The average student is not aware that we recycle because the single stream system is really behind the scenes because it all goes out to the tan dumpsters,” said Dr. Keith Whitworth, a sociology instructor specializing in sustainability.

The two recycling programs on campus are the single stream system and the blue bag system.

In the single stream system, all of the trash in the administration and academic buildings is taken to one of 11 tan dumpsters around the campus provided by Waste Management.

Once the trash is taken to the tan dumpsters, a Waste Management truck comes to take it to the company’s sorting facility in Arlington. Whitworth said he was skeptical as to whether or not the trash made it to the sorting facility to be recycled.

“This semester I took students to the recycling center to see it and it’s an amazing process,” Whitworth said.

Whitworth said the only time the trash would not make it to the sorting facility was when there was a contaminant like food or drinks in the trash.

The other system on campus is the blue bag system, which is found in all of the residence halls. Whitworth said a blue bin designed for all types of recyclables was placed on every floor. On certain days each week, the bags would be placed on the curb to be picked up by Evergreen Recycling Co. to be taken to their sorting facility.

Ben Rumph, a freshman political science major, said he knew some recycling went on, but that he did not feel like most of the student body was aware of what was going on.

Justin Gruetzner, a freshman engineering major, said he noticed more of an effort from TCU to make recycling more accessible and convenient.

“I noticed just recently in several of the dorms there’s been new boxes put out just for different types of recycling, whether it’s bottles, papers and all sorts of stuff, so we heading in the right direction,” Gruetzner said.

TCU is planning to begin another system for recycling soon, called the Greenopolis Dream Machine, Whitworth said.

He said three Dream Machines on campus will be found in Sherley Hall, Colby Hall and in the University Recreation Center, with a fourth to be added to the GrandMarc.

The Dream Machine will dispense a coupon to either the campus bookstore or a restaurant in exchange for recyclables, Whitworth said.


Extended interview with Keith Whitworth