Commingled Recycling

Did you know? Aluminum cans are recycled at a rate that is more than double that of any other beverage container. In fact, in 2011, 61 billion cans were recycled in the United States.[1]

Along with cans, LIU Post also recycles the many other items that first come to mind when thinking of recycling such as cardboard, paper, and plastic. The term “commingled recyclables” is simply used as an all-encompassing term to describe these commonly disposed of items.

By utilizing dual-stream recycling, LIU Post collects its paper products separately from its plastics and cans. However, it all ends up commingled or combined into one 40-yard roll-off container, which has been affectionately dubbed “The Dog House” by our staff at Facilities Services. Once the Dog House is full, our primary waste hauler Jamaica Ash will pick it up and process the contents at their Materials Recovery Facility in Westbury, New York. Once separated, the recyclables are baled and sold to a variety of places to be recycled into new products.

Over the years, recycling has increased dramatically at LIU Post largely thanks to the establishment of a student recycling program and the school’s commitment to sustainability. Working in tandem with the Department of Facilities Services, students employed by the LIU Post Recycling Program sort, clean, and recycle the majority of paper, cardboard, plastics, and cans that are generated on campus.

In total, LIU Post recycled 106,880 pounds of commingled recyclables in FY2012, which was estimated to be 50% cardboard, 40% paper, and 10% plastics and cans.

So, this means that LIU Post recycled:

  • 53,440 pounds of cardboard
  • 42,752 pounds of paper
  • And 10,688 pounds of plastics and cans

Altogether, this reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by about 170 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E), which is like taking 130 cars off the road.[2] We also recycled enough paper to power an average American home for over 10 years.[3]

In addition to lowering our carbon footprint, recycling also provides an opportunity to make money. In 2010, for example, the LIU Post Recycling Program established a student scholarship by redeeming the 5-cent deposits found on the bottles and cans collected on campus. Each year, marked by an increase in the amount we award, demonstrates that recycling on campus is always improving.

In FY2012, the program raised $600, more than double the amount that was raised the previous year.


[2] Calculated using the US EPA Waste Reduction Model (WARM) http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/tools/warm/index.html

[3] Recycling one ton of paper would save enough energy to power the average American home for six months.

http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/materials/paper/basics/

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