Augustus Stahl

Equinox Staff


Keene State College is entering the fifth week of an international competition to increase recycling awareness and inspire students to reduce waste.

According to its website, Recyclemania “is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities.” Over an eight-week period, more than 600 schools in the US and Canada report on their recycling and waste management, and in turn are ranked on recycling per capita.

emily fedorko / Photo editor KSC student Nikki Bevans collects e-waste on Feb. 22 in the Young Student Center.

emily fedorko / Photo editor
KSC student Nikki Bevans collects e-waste on Feb. 22 in the Young Student Center.

The participation in this competition was spearheaded by KSC’s recycling program, Recycling on Campus Keene State (R.O.C.K.S).

The organization has been hosting events to raise awareness such as weekly pledges, dorm storm and a clothing swap.

Last week’s pledge was “to reduce my food waste this week.” People who took and signed the pledge were entered to win a prize.

In one such event, an electronic waste collection, students and faculty brought their e-waste such as cords and old televisions to be recycled properly.

“Many faculty members brought stuff from their homes, students brought old cell phones, charges, different wires,” Nikki Bevans, a KSC student who works for R.O.C.K.S, said. According to her, departments in the college like the MAC brought different equipment to be recycled.

Recycling Coordinator Heather Greenwood said the waste was then brought to a recycling plant in Jaffrey to be deconstructed. She said with some electronics, such as televisions and computers, up to 90 percent of the materials could be reused. Some aren’t recycled, she said, but instead fixed and sold. Bevans said the amount of e-waste collected was impressive. “I had no idea that we were going to get as much stuff as we did. I was pretty impressive. It was nice to see many students and staff and faculty member involved in the initiative,” Bevans concluded.


According to, in 2010 the national average recycling rate was at 34.1 percent. Keene’s recycling rate is 23-25 percent, Greenwood said.

Greenwood said, “The majority of people try to sort items, but with the constantly changing population … there’s a learning curve.” A big problem with recycling is sorting the materials properly.

For on-campus students, “recycling rates depended on whether the dorm had indoor or outdoor recycling … at least 50 percent of our trash is recyclable,” Greenwood said.

Originally, in Holloway Hall, there was a collect-all where everyone dumped everything, Greenwood explained, but that ended in a mess. Now there are bins with different shaped holes to accommodate the respective recyclables.

“The changes work with natural behaviors,” Greenwood said. To help with the competition, Greenwood said, “Just choose to recycle,” and offer “to help people [recycle] without judging.”

However, recycling doesn’t always happen in Keene. Curbside pickup of recyclables is a superfluous expenditure to many landlords, and it’s rare to find someone whose rent includes it. Currently, off-campus students are not allowed to bring recyclables to dispose of them on campus. Greenwood suggested talking to the landlord about it because many times it could end up being cheaper for them to recycle.

“If the landlord is being stubborn, you can always bring your recycling to the recycling center down Route 12 yourself,” Greenwood said. The Recycling Center in Keene is free for bottles and cans, just not trash. Kelly Marchione, a junior, lives off campus and has curbside pick-up included in her rent. “But most of my friends don’t,” she said. “Maybe more landlords could include it in rent so more students have access to it.”

Recyclemania has helped raise awareness of recycling opportunities among students. Alex Kirk, a junior and member of R.O.C.K.S., said, “[We’re] doing ‘caught green handed,’ which is when we go to a certain dorm, or a certain building on campus and give out these green bucks. If we see someone recycling or has a reusable water bottle, we give them the green buck and they’re good at Lloyd’s or Bean & Bagel. We have people in the student center every day, trying to get the word out, and making sure that people are recycling. The dorm storm really helped because we told people about the blue bags, that they’re recyclable, that you can even wash them, just trying to make sure that people use them.” These events help put a face on R.O.C.K.S. and educate everyone.

“A lot of the time, when I’m going from dorm to dorm, I find people have a hard time putting things in the proper containers,” Kirk said.

“It’s labeled, cardboard goes here, bottles and cans go here, but people still mix up stuff … that takes a lot of our time is trying to sort through all that, because if one piece of cardboard ends up in … the bottles and cans, they’ll just throw it all away. So you have to be really conscious of what you’re doing to recycle, and make sure that you’re not only recycling, but you’re doing it properly,” Kirks concluded.


Augustus Stahl can be contacted at 

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