Campus Recycling Efforts End Up in the Trash


Photo by Emma Fischer

Republic Services trucks sit next to Heartland Waste’s old trucks. Republic acquired Heartland on July 21. Republic mechanic Tru Devine said they are working on getting Heartland’s trucks “road ready” to meet their safety standards.

Written by Emma Fischer, Reporter

  Every day, plastic bottles, cardboard and pieces of paper are chucked into the recycling bins throughout campus, and every day, those recyclable materials are taken to the landfill.

  In previous years, the local company Heartland Waste handled campus trash and recycling services. However, over the summer, the national company Republic Services bought Heartland Waste and took over operations. Unlike Heartland Waste, Republic does not offer recycling services.

  In a City Council interview earlier this month, City Manager Danielle Dulin spoke with Tyler Riordan, the municipal sales manager for Republic Services in Warrensburg.

  “We did have to make the difficult decision to temporarily suspend the recycling service,” Riordan said. “Some recycling facilities that we’ve used for years have shut down … Really we’re trying to do our due diligence as far as analyzing the Warrensburg market and what we can do for a recycling program.”

  Riordan mentioned that the company should have some answers on whether or not recycling services will return in November. However, while waiting on that decision, students are navigating a campus without the same recycling options.  

  “I [recycle] at home, and I also recycle here, or at least I thought I was recycling here,” freshman business management major Javon Hampton said.

  Like other students and staff, Hampton was unaware that the campus no longer had recycling.

  “It’s wrong … to keep something like that private because there are people that believe that they’re doing a good deed — that they’re recycling, and the whole time, they’re not,” Hampton said.

  Hampton said he believes there are people on campus who would look for other recycling solutions if they knew they were unable to recycle at UCM.

  Andrew Forgette, entrepreneurship and social networking major, said he recycles when it’s convenient for him. However, Forgette agreed recycling should be done more often. 

  “Something on this scale is not up to just me,” Forgette said. “Maybe the university should have said something.”

  Open options freshman Brianna Stai was also unaware about the lack of recycling. 

The University of Central Missouri doesn’t currently have recycling services, despite signage throughout campus suggesting otherwise. Republic Services, the company in charge of campus trash services, expects to have answers on whether or not recycling services will return in November. (Photo by Emma Fischer)

  “It’s weird because everywhere else I’ve been, they offer recycling services … My roommate [and I] have a recycling bin in our room and we take it out to the bin outside every Sunday,” Stai said.

  Some staff members are not aware of the changes that have been made. Assistant Custodial Manager Matt Metcalf has been working with Republic Services to organize trash collection on campus.  

  “Even though [the bins] say recycling, it is going to the trash,” Metcalf said.

  Metcalf said that the recycling cans are still in use, but that they are used as extra trash cans.

  “People are still going to put, by nature, plastic bottles in the plastic bottle containers … if we didn’t have those, our trash would be overflowing in our regular trash cans,” Metcalf said.

  Jeremiah Robison, who oversees the Office of Sustainability on campus and is the assistant director of student activities and outdoor education, said his office is waiting for further information from Republic Services.

  “What we want to do is encourage those habits of trying to recycle everything we can on campus so that when those services are restored, we don’t have to then build that knowledge once again,” Robison said.