Baruch College’s Novel Newman Vertical Campus Recycling Program

January 20, 2012

Baruch College was faced with a dilemma. A survey of Baruch students indicated a strong desire to recycle, yet a day-long waste audit of Baruch’s Newman Vertical Campus (NVC) showed less than half of recyclable waste was actually being recycled. Through Baruch’s Task Force on Sustainability, students, faculty and staff came together to analyze the problem and develop a solution. The collaboration resulted in a novel classroom-focused recycling program dubbed “Take it with You.”

The Task Force installed large, conspicuous and uniformly labeled three-stream recycling receptacles in the atrium areas of each floor of the NVC and removed garbage cans from all NVC classrooms. New signs in the classrooms instruct students and faculty to separate and deposit their trash in the new atrium bins.

Before the program’s implementation, students and faculty often had no choice but to dispose of recyclable material in the only receptacle available – the garbage can. Now Baruch community members can appropriately separate bottles, cans and paper and place them in recycling receptacles thereby removing these recyclables from the general waste stream.

Baruch has gone from recycling an average of five bags of bottles and cans per week in 2009 to dozens of bags each week in 2011. The amount of waste heading to landfills has fallen dramatically. We expect these trends will continue as we plan the launch of a robust awareness campaign coinciding with the beginning of the spring 2012 semester.