Colby College, ME Recycling Program

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Colby College, ME, US

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Type: Program

Status: Launched in 1989

Source File:


Colby began its recycling program in 1989. A successful recycling program depends on everyone's contribution. Please help Colby protect the environment and reduce its ecological footprint by recycling.

STUDENTS: Keep a box in your room for recyclable materials and dump it in your dorm floor's recycling bins when it's full. Each floor should have paper and bottles/cans recycling bins. Please take the time to separate. Please visit the Buildings link to see a list of recycling station locations (paper, bottles/cans, cardboard) and pictures of selected stations. Contact your HR if one is missing or report a broken station using the Colby Recycling Contact on the left menu bar.

FACULTY and STAFF: Every office should have a trash and small blue paper recycling bin. Please take the time to separate. Please visit the Buildings link to see the list of recycling station locations (paper, bottles/cans, cardboard) and pictures of selected stations.

Recycling Facts
For every one ton of paper recycled:

  • 17 pulpwood trees are conserved
  • 500 pounds of air pollutants are not emitted
  • 12,000 gallons of processed water are conserved
  • water pollution is reduced by 40%
  • energy equivalent to 96 gallons of gasoline is conserved
  • solid waste pollution is reduced
  • 5 cubic yards of landfill space is conserved and the amount of money to process the landfill space is saved

Source: Garden Services Inc., Salem, Oregon

"The Life of Litter. Decomposition Rate for Trash"
Nemve E. Metropolitan Diary, New York Times. October 1, 2001

Paper -- 2.5 months
Orange Peel --- 6 months
Milk Carton -- 5 years
Cigarette Butt -- 10-12 years
Plastic bag -- 10-20 years
Disposable diaper -- 75 years
Tin can -- 100 years
Beer can -- 200-500 years
Styrofoam -- Never

For more information:

Reduce, and Reuse before you Recycle!
Our culture seems inundated with a quick-fix, get-it-and-go, on the run pace that leads to using many disposable cups, plates, batteries, wrappers, etc. Solid waste on campus includes food, non-reusable cups, plates, other eating utensils, non-recyclable paper, throwaway convenience items, yard waste, and more.

Keep in mind, many of these things are composed of either paper or plastic. Paper is made from trees (though there are alternatives like hemp paper, lokta paper, recycled paper) and the process that most mills use pollutes the water as well. Plastic is made from oil, which is a non-renewable resource and often demands the exploitation of lands and peoples to extract. Both of these things also end up in the LANDFILL; landfills are filling up fast and the world does not have much room to make more. Paper does decompose fairly easily, but plastic does not.

Some Things to Think About

Paper Waste: Dining Services has eliminated paper cups from all of the dining halls. This decision has removed 154,000 cups/year from the waste stream. To promote the use of reusable dishware rather than disposable paper products, the Environmental Coalition and the Environmental Studies Program ran a program to collect and return stray mugs and glasses that have been removed from the dining halls.

Doggy Bags: very often styrofoam, which takes a very long time to decompose. Ask for a alternative to styrofoam or bring your own container.

Product Packaging: many products come with ridiculous amounts of packaging, much of which is non-recyclable. Things to think about: individually wrapped candies, tampons, juice boxes, fast food. Choose another brand that uses less! Write a letter to the company and let them know that as a consumer you will not purchase their product until they reduce the packaging. Buy things in bulk.

Paper Napkins, Paper Towels, and Tissues: You can use a hanky instead like good ole' Grams and Gramps and wash it when needed, and save trees here as well.

Plastic Utensils and Wooden Chopsticks: plastic utensils: made of oil. wooden chopsticks: made of trees. If you end up using these, save them to use again next time. But preferably carry around your own reusable utensils.

Magazines: Once you’ve read a magazine (that you got second hand), pass it on. Drop a few at the laundry mat or your dentist office.

CLOSE THE LOOP: When possible, buy recycled products.