Student group to build and staff SOU recycling facility

A student group plans to build a recycling center at Southern Oregon University, complete with sorting room, indoor and outdoor bin systems and a full-time recycling coordinator.

The Ecology Center of the Siskiyous raised $57,500 to build and staff the center and install recycling bins in every building on campus.

The waste-management project is set to begin next fall with a campuswide education campaign on how to reduce waste.

"Hopefully, this will put SOU on the path to having zero waste in five years," Misty Munoz, a junior majoring in environmental studies, said in a university release. She's one of the four students who launched the effort through a classroom capstone project last fall overseen by Professor Mark Shibley. The other three students are seniors Christina Becker, Benji Nagel and Charlie Chao.

The funds come from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation ($23,000 in Green Tag reinvestment funds), SOU student fees ($23,500 in emergency funding from the student government), the Ted Turner Foundation ($6,000) and the university ($5,000 in savings from infrastructure costs).

Munoz said she will begin setting up the recycling sorting facility this summer so that it will be ready to go when the new school year begins in September.

Munoz predicted 75 percent of recyclables that now go into the trash will be recycled through the program within two years, saving $49,000 in trash costs.

ECOS students hope to start a program for collection and recycling of plastic next fall. They also hope to raise money for a composting program next winter that would produce methane to be sold to a utility company, compost to be used on campus grounds and more savings in waste disposal costs.

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