Rowan University, NJ Recycling Program

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Rowan University, NJ, US

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Type: Program

Status: Ongoing

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Recyclemania is sweeping the nation (no pun intended) and Rowan University has a front seat for the ride.

In 2006 Rowan placed third nationwide for waste minimization in Recyclemania, a nationwide campus competition, out of some 100 colleges and universities. The number of competing schools doubled during the 10-week competition in 2007 and Rowan still placed among the top 10 for minimizing waste across campus. Among competing colleges and universities in the northeast we placed 1st out of 30.

Surprised? Don't be. Rowan faculty, staff and students have made a commitment to recycle and it's evident from the President's office on down to every freshman dorm room.

"Recycling is the law in New Jersey but it's more than that," said John Imperatore, PE, Director of Facilities, Resource Management. "The less we send to the landfill and the more we recycle, the better use we make of our natural resources. It's just a waste to use something once and throw it in the trash."

Imperatore said in an effort to boost an already strong recycling rate the University in 2007 bought 17 new metal recycling units, each partitioned to separate recyclable cans, bottles and containers from trash.

But the 17 new units are just a start.

Throughout the year Rowan hosts activities that are either designed with recycling in mind or recast to change wasteful practices of the past.

For example, at dormitories all around Rowan we now have Move-In Cardboard Capture, an annual event to save the hundreds if not thousands of boxes that formerly went in the trash.

"We captured three tons of cardboard during the two days of freshman move-in in 2006," Imperatore said.

Then there's Homecoming, a zero-waste event in which virtually every bit of paper, wood, wire and paint is stripped down from parade floats and recycled.

"The lifespan of those floats is about 12 hours," Imperatore said. "We guide them not to build tanks because they must be disassembled. We filled four, 40-foot dumpsters in 2006. That's a lotta stuff."