Program buys bins with grant

LSU’s campus is undergoing a face-lift that doesn’t involve new buildings or remodeling current ones.

Through a $10,000 Healthy Communities Grant from Keep Louisiana Beautiful, LSU Campus Sustainability purchased 1,000 new recycling bins for the campus in the fall and the effects are showing, say Keep Louisiana Beautiful Executive Director Leigh Harris and others involved.

The influx of new receptacles is the latest in a series of efforts to make LSU more “green,” Harris said.

Since 2003, LSU Recycles has increased the rate of recycled material collected at football games on campus to 18 percent last year, up from just 1 percent a decade ago, Harris said.

College-age students are one of the most important demographics when it comes to sustainability, she said.

“Young people understand environmental responsibility and the fact is that they are going to be the next generation that’s going to determine whether the state is clean,” Harris said, saying she figured there wasn’t a better group to work with than LSU students volunteering in a campus recycling program. “You’re really reaching the public as well as the student population.”

In 2004, Baton Rouge received recycling containers and gave to LSU its old ones, which are the green, 18-gallon, drum-like items that had served as most of the campus receptacles.

LSU Recycling Manager Andres Harris said many of those containers were broken, so the grant was used to purchase new, more clearly marked, blue, 24-gallon containers. Harris said the new bins will better guide tailgaters in avoiding contamination.

“When we have a bin that is contaminated, we have to dispose of it,” he said. “By having the bins well-marked and very distinctive in color and design, the people are more aware of what not to put in it and what to put.”

LSU Recycles has about 3,700 trash cans and 2,500 recycling bins, 1,000 of which are the new blue ones, for each home football game and many campus events that draw large crowds. Harris said he wants the number of new recycling bins eventually to equal the number of trash cans on campus.

Over the past three years, LSU has participated in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Game Day Recycling Challenge in which schools across the country attempt to recycle the most material on a given Saturday.

LSU finished first in the Southeastern Conference category in each of the past two years and 11th in the country last year with more than 1/4 pound of recycled material per person even though the new receptacles had not arrived on campus at the time of the challenge.