SIU Recycling History

Main Content

The first recycling program at Southern Illinois University was implemented in 1977.  Called "Reuse News," the program employed students and volunteers to collect newspaper on campus.  In 1986, this program was suspended because of poor markets.

In 1990, recycling efforts were begun again by the Pollution Control office, which in 1992 became the Center for Environmental Health and Safety (CEHS)  The program was operated by students, who collected white, computer, and newspaper with a pick-up truck from approximately 250 offices on campus.  The program was understaffed and underequipped to carry out a comprehensive recycling effort on campus.

SIU's current recycling efforts are in response to the Illinois Solid Waste Management Act (415ILCS 20/1 et seq.), enacted in 1990.  This act mandated that all state run universities develop recycling plans by January 1, 1995.  The plan outlines how the University intends to meet mandatory 40% reduction in solid waste by the year 2000.

SIU's Plant & Service Operations (PSO) department assumed responsibility for the recycling program on January 1, 1996.  PSO has expanded the program to every academic building on campus (86 buildings) and to the facilities leased by the University at the Southern Illinois Airport.  PSO's custodial staff collect recyclables on an established schedule, usually one night per week, and consolidate them at a collection point for the recycling truck to pick up the following day.  This system has been extremely effective, as the custodial staff are in the buildings daily, and prevent recycling bins from overflowing and becoming a problem for the building occupants.  The custodial staff have also been very helpful in identifying areas where occupants need assistance with recycling information, such as what can be recycled or how to properly sort recyclables.  The custodial staff can readily identify such areas by what the occupants throw into their trash cans and how well the contents of the recycling bins are sorted.

PSO has also expanded the types of commodities accepted for recycling. All grades of paper including white paper, color paper, newspaper, greenbar computer paper, books, magazines, cardboard, junk mail, catalogs, phone books, and shredded paper are accepted.  In addition to these materials; aluminum, tin, and scrap metal are collected as well as grass and leaves for composting, wooden pallets, motor oil, and #2 plastic.