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Increasing Sustainability Through Recycling

Education

Sustainable Proposal Project

Gina Grunwald, Justin Snyder, Andrew Dicken, Stephanie Sharo

Environmental Sustainability 2100

November 16, 2018

Dr. Tait Chirenje

Stockton University
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Abstract

Sustainability is at the forefront of any community looking to increase efficiency and

minimize waste. However, sustainable improvements, whatever they may be, are solely dependent

on the mass adoption and implementation of these improvements.

At Stockton University, we wish to increase student and professional awareness and

education on one of the most fundamental sustainable projects in the world, recycling, to maximize

proper recycling and minimize waste and misuse. We will achieve this by designing and posting

posters on each large trash/recycling bin in the Academic Spine and the Campus Center. These

posters will serve to educate Stockton students and staff on what is and what is not recyclable. As

a result, less waste will be thrown into a recycling bin. Also, this education will not only benefit

Stockton’s recycling efforts, but that education will propagate and allow students to use this

education elsewhere and teach others how to properly recycle.

Our metrics for success will be taken over a period of a month. After the time period, a

survey will be sent out, which will ask participants if the poster’s information has helped them or

someone else change their actions when it comes to recycling and waste disposal. We anticipate

that many misconceptions about what is recyclable will be corrected by the information on the

posters, and as a result raise awareness and conscious efforts to recycle properly. The end goal of

this project is to see a substantial improvement in recycling education through survey responses.
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Table of Contents

Abstract 2

Table of Contents 3

Mission Statement 4
Statement of Need 4
Project Statement 6
Project Rationale 7
Recycling has a lot of benefits to us and the environment 7
Recycled materials are turned into different things 7
Makes Stockton ‘greener’ and upholds its promise to be sustainable 9
Project Narrative 9
Goal 9
First Option 9
Second Option 10
Timeline 11
Timeline Chart 12
Budget 12
Evaluation 12
Conclusion 13
Research References 14
Appendix 15
People met and discussed project and possibilities with 15
First Survey 16
Results of the Survey 18
First Poster Draft 19
Second Garbage Can Poster Draft 21
LED/Media Screen Final 21
Evaluation Survey 22
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Mission Statement

Our mission is to reduce the amount of recyclable waste at Stockton University by bringing

awareness and educating students and staff on the problem and recycling.

Statement of Need

Recycling is a very complex process that most people do not understand. The components

that go into recycling things properly is a lot more than the average person is willing to sit down

and do. In places where the Materials Recovery Facility require recyclables to be source separated,

the bins to separate things into vary. Some places require three bins, where it’s just glass, paper,

and plastics with tin and aluminum. Some places require plastics to be separated by their plastic

types. For plastics, there are 6 different types of plastics that are labeled on the bottom of the items.

The first kind is PETE, or polyethylene, which are soft drink bottles, juice containers, and cooking

oil containers. The second one is HDPE, or high-density polyethylene, which are milk jugs,

laundry detergent containers, and shampoo bottle. The third is PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, which

are used in a lot of construction piping. The fourth is LDPE, or low-density polyethylene, which

are crushed bottles and plastic shopping bags. The fifth is PP, or polypropylene, which are furniture

and luggage, as well as toys, that contain plastics. The sixth is PS, or polystyrene, which are things

like hard packing, refrigerator trays, costume jewelry, CD cases, and audio cassettes. There is also

a seventh kind of label, but that is any and every other kind of plastic that does not fit into these

six categories. Just with plastics alone, it is easy to see why recycling can be complex.

Luckily, there is also Single Stream Recycling, which, depending on where a person lives,

means that the municipality is able to accept all kinds of recycling, regardless of plastic type or if

its aluminum versus tin. With single stream, the MRF is able to sort the recycling out at the facility.

However, single stream really focuses on paper, steel, glass, aluminum, and plastic. First,
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everything from the recycling is loaded onto one conveyor belt, and as it goes along, different

things sort out the recycling. Paper and cardboard are separated first by rotary screen separators,

which are star-shaped wheels that have air blowing through them. The air lifts the paper and

cardboard up to a higher level, where human workers separate the paper and cardboard into

different piles. The rest of the recycling goes through the screen onto a lower level, which then

goes through a cross-belt magnet. The cross-belt magnet is a high-powered magnet that attracts

iron-containing metals, like steel cans. The aluminum is not magnetic enough to be attracted to

this magnet. The steel is then collected and sent away to be melted down. What is left on the belt

are glass, plastics, and aluminum. The remaining stuff goes through an air classifier, which blows

light-weight items like the aluminum and plastics up to a higher-level belt, while the glass is left

on the lower one. The glass then goes through a rolling drum, which crushes up the glass and it

goes through a screen to make sure the pieces are no larger than 5cm wide. The crushed up glass

is then sorted by color by workers, since the color of the glass is permanent and a part of the

composition of the glass. The aluminum and plastics that are left are separated by an Eddy Current

Separator, which is a drum with spinning rotators containing magnetic poles that create their own

induction field. The induction field activates the electrons in the aluminum to start generating their

own magnetic field, which is then repelled by the induction field. The aluminum ends up on its

own conveyor belt separate from the plastics, and is then melted down. The plastics left are then

sorted out by types by either humans or, in some newer facilities, by infrared sensors.

Source Separation Recycling is harder on the consumers who used the products and

are now getting rid of them. Single Stream Recycling is easier on the people throwing away their

used materials, but more complex within the MRF. No matter what, recycling in total is a very

complex and intricate system. The major problem is that people do not understand the complexity
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and delicacy of recycling. Things contaminated with food can contaminate an entire bag of

recycling, which then has to be thrown out. Things put in recycling that don’t belong, like plastic

bags and straws, end up clogging and ruining the machinery inside these facilities. One of the ways

to prevent contaminating and jamming Material Recovery Facilities is to create public awareness,

and teach people how to recycle properly, even if it is the bare minimum of what they can do.

Project Statement

Stockton’s recycling has a flaw to it: simply the lack of proper education. When students

and faculty do not know how to properly recycle it does not matter how good of a program it is.

If you sit in the cafeteria you can see large amounts of food waste go into recycling as well as

unrecyclable materials. There are also hardly any educational posters on the current

garbage/recycling cans. The goal of this project is to properly educate the public with posters that

keep it very simple and visual. With these posters around the garbage and recycling cans, that can

be understood within a glance, perhaps the rate of proper recycling will increase across campus.

What happens when improper recycling occurs on campus? For example, when food waste

is put into the recycling can the entire can is turned into a garbage can. This minimizes how much

Stockton actually recycles. It is important to increase the efficiency of our recycling.

Project Rationale

The proposal of posters around campus that shows proper recycling has no downsides

besides a small budget. There is a very small economic cost of paper and ink. This, however, is

an extremely small cost compared to improper recycling.


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a. Recycling has a lot of benefits to us and the environment

Recycling reduces the resources we use to create these products in the first place. It helps

create a sustainable future. Recycling also saves energy, because the energy used in creating the

products in the first place is significantly more than the energy used in making the products into

something else. Recycling helps protect the environment because it reduces the need in having to

extract, refine, and process raw material, all of which contributes to air and water pollution. It also

reduces the emissions of greenhouse gases used in obtaining and creating the products. And finally,

it reduces the amount of trash that ends up in landfills, only to be burned and create methane gas

emissions.

b. Recycled materials are turned into different things

Milk jugs and other plastic containers like shampoo and detergent bottles get recycled and

end as plastic lumber, picnic tables, lawn furniture, playground equipment, recycling bins, or back

to being containers like they were before. Plastic bags and wraps (accepted at certain recycling

plants) can be turned into plastic lumber for park benches, backyard decks and fences, playground

equipment, and also more plastic bags. Bottles can be turned into things like t-shirts, sweaters,

fleece jackets, insulation for jackets and sleeping bags, carpeting, and more bottles. Approximately

10 bottles are needed to mat a new shirt, 63 for a sweater, and 14 to create insulation for a ski

jacket. Only 28% of plastic bottles are recycled in the US. Bottle caps (depending on if the

recycling plant can take them or not) can be turned into car batteries, garden rakes, storage

containers, reusable shopping bags, yarn, rope, brooms, and more bottle caps. Paper is sorted and

taken to a mill where it is then shredded and mixed together. That mixed paper then can resurface

as newspaper, egg/berry cartons, paper plates, construction paper, phone books, kitty litter, or even
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sheetrock. Magazines can become newspaper or paperboard packaging. Paperboard can be

downcycled into more paperboard, paper towels, or even roof shingles. Cardboard can be

downcycled into paper bags, paperboard packaging, or even more cardboard. Recycled notebooks

and computer paper can end up becoming toilet paper, facial tissue, paper towels, and napkins.

Aluminum cans, when recycled, are shredded and melted down to make new cans or aluminum

foil. This method keeps aluminum cans recyclable indefinitely, all without reducing the quality of

the aluminum. Tin-coated steel cans are actually separated. The process separates the tin from the

steel, and the steel is then used to make things like bicycles, car parts, steel beams, rebar, and

household appliances. The steel can also be reshaped and coated once more with the tin to continue

being a can. Glass is something that is actually deceitful. In single-stream recycling, the glass

recycled is actually just crushed up and taken to a landfill to use as a landfill cover. However, in

places that have the proper technology and machinery to separate the glass, it is separated by color

and melted down and reshaped into new bottles. It’s important to separate by color because the

color is a part of the glass, so it changes the melting points.

c. Makes Stockton ‘greener’ and upholds its promise to be sustainable

Stockton used to be committed to being New Jersey’s Green University. To uphold that

commitment, we must improve our recycling to lessen our impact on the environment. This small,

important action is a huge easy step toward campus sustainability.


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Project Narrative

a. Goal

The main goal of creating educational posters for the campus is to improve campus

recycling to eliminate our waste and impact on the environment.

b. First Option

First, we wanted to eliminate our waste by making the receipt system into an option. Either

the receipt would be electronic paper, or neither to eliminate the extra paper we print each order.

Every order three separate receipts get printed, and many students reject even one receipt. The

first step was to start at Chartwells our community partner for the food court. Here we had to ask

if it was possible to change the system. After this, we would send a survey to students to see if

they want to change. After these steps then we would go into finding a new system and

implementing this. However, Chartwells shot it down because they thought it was too much

money. They said that the current system is too old and could not handle this. They also said it

was necessary for reports and keeping track of sales. (Even if it was an option to email, or have

electronic records). Therefore, I called Chartwells’ corporate office. The first phone call no one

answered but a machine, which eventually hung up on me. Then the second time they told me that

no school with Chartwells has paperless receipts. Once this happened I went back to Stephanie’s

office to try to find another department number to call and she said the same thing. Chartwell

cannot have paperless receipts due to security reason. They must have documentation in case the

ending value in the cash register does not match or a customer claims to be charged on a card.

Therefore, if we were to do this at Stockton University we would not be able to continue use with

Chartwells.
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c. Second Option

We started our second idea with the posters. First, we are sending out a survey to Bonner

Leaders, Change Builders, and Professor Chirenje’s classes to understanding the position of

recycling on campus across multiple majors and grades. After this, we started researching proper

recycling strategies. We easily found that Stockton is a single-stream campus, so that makes the

recycling process easier on the people who are throwing away their stuff. In places where the

municipality does not have single stream, the recycling process is slightly different. Here at

Stockton, paper, cardboard, plastic bottles and containers, aluminum and tin cans, and glass bottles

and jars are recyclable. The only requirement is that these things are free of food

particles/contaminants, as well as liquids. That means that bottles being thrown out need to be

rinsed beforehand, and plastic containers holding food need to be emptied into the trash before

being recycles. It also means that things like pizza boxes that have grease on them cannot be

recycled. After we researched this information, we created two posters, and one to go on the TV’s

around campus. Once the posters were made, we had to budget with the campus Print Shop to get

them printed. Once the posters are printed, we go to event services to hang them up in irregular

spots around campus. These spots are on the garbage and recycling cans around campus. We also

went to the resource room in order for them to get hung up in normal locations around campus

such as walls and pillars where another event advertising is hung. Then we went to Student

Development to get the posters electronically advertised on the TV screens around campus. All

we had to do for this was fill out a form and send the poster in to the email

@TVLEDrequests@stockton.edu. For this proposal our stakeholders include Event Services and

Student Development; major contributors include the Office of Service Learning. The final

champion however is the director of Event Services, Laurie Griscom and director of Student
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Development, Jeffrey Wakemen. Director of the Office of Service Learning Daniel Tome, was

very helpful in giving advice and connections and offered Don Hudson, Vice President for

Facilities & Operations as a backup if the posters needed extra approval. However, we did not

have to take this step.

d. Timeline

We followed the timeline of finishing each step around a week. Otherwise, we talked in a

group chat, in person, or meet separately. We split into pairs to easily organize the process, with

Gina and Justin working together, and Steph and Andrew working together. The first due date we

made was Friday 26th October. Stephanie and Andrew were to finish getting the Qualtrics account

and finish the survey. Gina and Justin were to start research. The next week was November 2nd.

Stephanie and Andrew were to send the survey out and continue to reach out to contacts to discuss

options available to us. Justin and Gina were to finish research and have it condensed on a word

document. Following week was November 9th where the poster was supposed to be made by Gina

and Justin so Stephanie and Andrew could get to the print shop to get a budget and work on getting

approved to be hung. The final week was to finish the written part of the proposal to get it passed.

Once the posters are hung then we need to send out a second survey to see question the public to

see if it was successful.

Timeline Chart
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e. Budget

It will cost about thirty-eight cents ($ 0.38) a poster. Therefore, if we put a poster by each

of the recycling cans in the academic spine and campus center it will cost $25.84. There were 68

garbage cans and recycling cans throughout these buildings. We can also post the posters in the

regular area (twenty-five (25) designated areas) which would cost about $9.50. Therefore, the

total cost will be $35.34. Even if you budget an extra $10 for this, it will give us an extra 26

posters (which is about how many are in each of the remaining buildings). This is easily reasonable

because it is a minor cost for proper recycling. This will decrease waste on campus and make the

campus greener. Not only this, but the Office of Service Learning and the Environmental Club on

campus both support this project. Therefore, a significant student body wants to make this change

on campus and are willing to help.

f. Evaluation

We sent out a survey to about 100 people through a link using Qualtrics (Bonner Leaders,

Change Builders, and Professor Chirenje’s classes). We had 45 responses. The first two questions

focusing on people’s understanding of recycling resulted with majority of people not being

confident in their knowledge of recycling. The third and fourth questions focused on if people

would want more education on recycling and the majority said no. The last questions were

situations to gage people’s real-world understanding of recycling. About half the group were either

unsure or right in where they would put the object. Therefore, it is a necessary change. After the

posters go up, the best way to have an evaluation of the posters is to survey the same people again.

Here we will ask if people noticed the flyers hung up and if they made any difference in people’s

habits. We will put in similar situations as discussed in questions 5-8 and see if the number of
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correct responses go up. Future ways to improve education is to hold discussions and table on the

issue.

Conclusion

Stockton University has made strides to become a “greener” University. What has been

lacking is the education and efforts to spread awareness about how to maximize efficiency. Based

on our survey results, even with a relatively small sample size, the majority of the responses to

questions were unsure to the answers. After hanging the posters, we will evaluate the success of

them by sending another survey out to the people that took the first one, as well as a new group of

people. This will give us data to analyze to see if it was successful, and overall awareness has gone

up. First, we will see if the first survey takers had improved answers, and if they new group has

better results than the participants before the posters were hung. This is how we will measure if

our project was successful or not.


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Research References
American Chemistry Council. (2018). What Plastics Can Become. Retrieved from

https://www.recycleyourplastics.org/consumers/kids-recycling/plastics-can-become

Bryson Recycling. (2016). Why Recycle? Retrieved from

http://www.brysonrecycling.org/recycling/why-recycle/

Dumpsters.com. (2018). Is Single-Stream Recycling Worth It? Retrieved from

https://www.dumpsters.com/blog/single-stream-recycling

Mercola, J., Dr. (2018). Getting to Know Your Plastics: What the 7 Numbers Mean. Retrieved

from https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/04/11/plastic-use.aspx

PETRA. (2015). An Introduction to PET. Retrieved from

http://www.petresin.org/news_introtopet.asp

Lewis, M. (2016, October 07). What Do Recycled Items Become? Retrieved from

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/recycled-items-become-79185.html

SciShow. (2015, June 11). How Recycling Works. Retrieved from

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7GMpjx2jDQ

Waste Management, Inc. (2017). What Can I Recycle? Retrieved from

http://www.wm.com/thinkgreen/what-can-i-recycle.jsp
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Appendix

People met and discussed project and possibilities with


➢ Stephanie Moye, Resident District Manager
○ Email: Stephanie.Moye@Stockton.edu
○ Phone: (609) 652 - 4771
➢ Daniel Fidalgo Tomé, Director of Service-Learning
○ Phone: 609-652-4256
○ Email: Daniel.Tome@stockton.edu
○ Office: F-014
➢ Don Hudson, Vice President for Facilities & Operations
○ Phone: 609-652-4883
○ Email: Donald.Hudson@stockton.edu
○ Office: Bldg. 70
➢ Jeffrey Wakemen, Director of Student Development
○ Phone: 609-652-4986
○ Email: jeffrey.wakemen@stockton.edu
○ Office: CC-240
➢ Laurie Griscom, Assistant Dean of Students, Director of Event Services and Campus Ctr
Ops
○ Phone: 609-652-4731
○ Email: laurie.griscom@stockton.edu
○ Office: CC-241
➢ Chartwells Corp
○ Phone: 844-753-6321
➢ University Relations and Marking → Print Shop
○ Location: Upper L-Wing
○ Email: urm@stockton.edu
○ Phone: (609) 626-3600
➢ Environmental Club
○ The 2018-2019 year president: Benjamin Dziobeck
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○ Email: dziobekb@go.stockton.edu
○ Phone: (732) 543-3005

First Survey

Do you feel like you have a good understanding of recycling?


- Definitely yes
- Probably yes
- Might or might not
- Probably not
- Definitely not
Do you think there are opportunities to learn about recycling on campus?
- Definitely yes
- Probably yes
- Might or might not
- Probably not
- Definitely not
Do you want to learn more about recycling?
- Definitely yes
- Probably yes
- Might or might not
- Probably not
- Definitely not
Do you think education about recycling would improve the campus efforts to 'stay green'?
- Definitely yes
- Probably yes
- Might or might not
- Probably not
- Definitely not
When you have an item to throw away or recycle, how confident do you feel in how to properly
dispose of the item (recyclable or not)?
- Certain
- Somewhat certain
- Unsure
In relation to question 5, let's say a person has a plastic iced coffee cup with a 1/4 of the coffee
left. Should this item be recycled?
- Yes
- Maybe
- No
In relation to question 5, a person has had a large meal that they did not finish. He has recyclable
containers still have food in them. Should these items be recycled?
- Yes
- Maybe
- No
Out of the following items which can be recycled?
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- Empty soda bottle


- Plate with pizza grease
- Paper bag with nothing in it
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Results of the Survey

Figure 1: Question 1 and Question 2. Question 1 has majority saying probably yes. Question 2

was much more distributed.

Figure 2: Question 3 and Question 4. Question 3 and Question 4 had a majority saying definitely

not (when asked if they want to learn more about recycling and if it would help make Stockton

‘greener’.)
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Figure 3: Question 5 and Question 6. Question 5 had a majority saying somewhat certain and

Question 6 had a majority saying no (correct answer).

Figure 4: Question 7 and Question 8. Question 7 had a majority saying no (correct answer) and

Question 8 had a majority saying paper and soda (correct answer).

First Poster Draft


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Figure 5: This was our first take on an educational poster for the garbage/recycling can. Instead

of pictures, it had all words.

Garbage Can Poster Draft

Figure 6: This was the second draft of the the the first idea. We included more pictures, and

separate the columns by color. The goal was to keep it easy to understand in a glance.
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Second Garbage Can Poster Draft

Figure 7: This was a take on the original poster, where it looks much more like a educational
flyer. It is all works with more information.

LED/Media Screen Final


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Figure 8: This is the poster that will go on the TV’s around campus. After seeing the posters on

the TV’s and on the garbage/recycling cans, students and faculty will have seen the posters many

time and start adapting their habits.

Evaluation Survey

Do you feel like you have a good understanding of recycling?


- Definitely yes
- Probably yes
- Might or might not
- Probably not
- Definitely not
Have you noticed the recycling posters around campus?
- Yes
- Maybe
- No
Did the posters educate you on how to properly recycle?
- Definitely yes
- Probably yes
- Might or might not
- Probably not
- Definitely not
Have you changed the way you recycle?
- Yes
- Maybe
- No
Do you think the posters on campus were successful in creating awareness?
- Definitely yes
- Probably yes
- Might or might not
- Probably not
- Definitely not
When you have an item to throw away or recycle, how confident do you feel in how to properly dispose of
the item (recyclable or not)?
- Certain
- Somewhat certain
- Unsure
In relation to question 5, let's say a person has a plastic iced coffee cup with a 1/4 of the coffee left. Should
this item be recycled?
- Yes
- Maybe
- No
In relation to question 5, a person has had a large meal that they did not finish. He has recyclable containers
still have food in them. Should these items be recycled?
- Yes
- Maybe
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- No
Out of the following items which can be recycled?
- Empty soda bottle
- Plate with pizza grease
- Paper bag with nothing in it