Last year, Tonya Pentola noticed that recyclable material from a remodeling project was being sent to the landfill. That concerned Pentola, who is the supervisor for the storeroom, recycling and general services departments in Pittsburg State University’s Physical Plant.
“It really bothered me to see all of that headed to the landfill,” Pentola said.
PSU’s Recycling Center routinely handles mountains of paper, plastic bottles and aluminum cans and volume has increased as the campus collection system has grown, along with awareness.
“We’ve made great progress in the day-to-day recycling in our campus buildings,” Pentola said.
But construction waste, such as metal door and window frames and glass was something the campus Recycling Center hadn’t taken on until this year.
Over the past year, Pentola has worked with the Office of Facilities Planning to include recycling in the planning for the construction and remodeling projects that occur on campus almost every year.
“We sit at the table with the architects and the contractors before the work begins,” Pentola said.
Paul Stewart, director of the Office of Facilities Planning, said recycling is one of the considerations in the planning for any campus project and can affect the bid. Most contractors, he said, factor in the costs or revenues associated with recycling and landfill fees. Some wish to do the recycling themselves, but for others, having PSU handle it makes a lot of sense.
Pentola said the contractors have been good to work with by allowing access to work sites for recycling collections and by stacking heavy materials on pallets for easy removal.
“We’re really working together to achieve the same goal -- less waste in the landfill,” Pentola said. “So far it is going very well.”
Pentola said that sustainability is an important theme at PSU.
“We’ve made a lot of progress, but we’re always looking for ways to do a better job of reducing landfill waste,” Pentola said. “I’d like to see PSU be a model for that.”
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