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Sustainable Lehigh: Recycling Improvements

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The Office of Sustainability is working to improve Lehigh University’s recycling system and we want you to be in the know.

At our university, we have single-stream recycling; this means paper, cardboard, plastic, glass and metal can all be placed in our recycling bins. Over the next several months, you may notice additional bins around campus, new signs identifying our waste streams, and increased information about which items are recyclable at Lehigh. 

Making Progress
In 2013, Lehigh recycled a whopping 430 tons of material. However, waste audits have found that up to 30% of our trash could actually be recycled! There is room to improve and your efforts to recycle in your office and around campus can help us reach our goal of recycling 40% of our waste in 2014.

To reach our recycling goal, we’re working on the following projects:

Distributing Easy-to-Understand, Clear Signage

This week, you received a blue recycling sign in your mailbox. We designed the poster to clearly convey what should go in a Lehigh recycling bin. Hang this poster up by the recycling bin in your office as a reminder of what is accepted in our recycling system.  Soon, this sign and the color blue will identify recycling bins across campus.

Making Recycling Simple, Easy and Convenient

This semester, Office of Sustainability staff will be visiting each office on campus to make sure every staff has a recycling bin. We’ll also be reevaluating locations of common space and outdoor recycling bins, to make sure that bins are easy to find, always paired with a garbage can, and in convenient locations. We want recycling to be easy!

Competing in RecycleMania 2014: February 2nd to March 29th

This year Lehigh University is participating in RecycleMania, a competition focused on increasing recycling at universities across the U.S. During the competition, participating institutions report the amount of recycling and trash collected each week. Last year, Lehigh ranked 60th out of 360 institutions in the Per Capita Classic category and 120th in the Gorilla Prize category. This year YOU can help us place much higher in the competition by recycling diligently in February and March! Once the competition begins, we’ll be posting our standings on our Facebook page. Follow us at: www.facebook.com/LehighSustainability

How YOU Can Help

Place all recyclable paper, plastic, glass and metal in blue recycling bins. No need to separate, we have mixed recycling! However, please make sure that the items are clean and empty. 

Promote recycling at meetings, in conferences, in your office, and in classrooms. Encourage colleagues to plan low-waste events and to recycle as much as possible. 
Use reusable mugs, water bottles and dishware. Reducing the amount of garbage generated will also help our rankings in RecycleMania.

Questions about Lehigh’s recycling system, involvement in RecycleMania, or which materials are recyclable should be directed to the Office of Sustainability at recycle@lehigh.edu or sustainability.lehigh.edu/recycling.

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Spotlight is published monthly by Human Resources. Please address any comments to Hillary Kwiatek, Spotlight Editor, Human Resources, 428 Brodhead Avenue, send email to hik210@lehigh.edu, or call extension 85165.

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