Where do I put my trash?
Public Relations - Published: September 6, 2013
EnvironmentThe law school has changed its approach to recycling on the Delaware campus under a new scheme that will ensure everything that can be recycled from academic and administrative buildings will be – without guesswork.

For years the Delaware campus has had separate bins for recyclables and trash in all areas of the Main Law Building, Polishook Hall, Passmore House, Geesey House and the bookstore. Now, sorting is no longer necessary.

That means trash and recyclables can all go in the same bins.

“Machines do the sorting now,” said Gil Landau, director of campus services. “Anyone depositing trash or recyclable items into receptacles in these areas doesn’t have to worry about knowing which items are recyclable or whether and where to sort them.”

The law school switched its trash and recycling service provider to Waste Masters last year, which made the new approach possible. Waste emptied from containers in academic and administrative buildings is now transported to the Blue River Recycling Center in Wilmington. Large machines there sift through it and corral plastics together and paper together and cardboard together, much the way human sorting did in the beginning. The recycling center also has staff members to monitor the process and aid in sorting what the machines cannot.

“It takes the guesswork out,” said Landau. “It makes it especially easy on our visitors, since recycling practices tend to vary geographically.”

While it can feel a bit odd tossing an empty water bottle into the same can as a soiled Scrimmage’s take-out container, or white office paper in with your empty Wawa coffee cup, Landau said everything will get where it is supposed to go.

“Sorting behavior has become so much a part of the way we live this can seem a little weird at first, but then it’s kind of nice knowing it no longer takes a special effort to do the right thing for the environment,” Landau said.

Green practices are important at Widener Law.

Last year the Harrisburg campus began single-stream recycling. That means all recyclables can be dropped into the same bins, but those bins are still separate from general trash. They recycle paper, bottles, cans, cardboard, plastics and glass. The law library began accepting used batteries for recycling last year, too.

National Jurist magazine named the school to its honor roll of “Top Green Schools” in 2010, based on the strength of Widener’s environmental law curriculum and our earth-friendly practices. The law school joined the American Bar Association – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Challenge in 2009, which positioned Widener as a leader in the greening of U.S. law schools. That same year the school launched the Environmental Law Center, the first academic-civic initiative to operate between both law campuses.

Students who reside in Delaware-campus residence halls and campus apartments are still asked to sort their recyclables from the general trash, much like what is done in Harrisburg.