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Recycling

When most people think about sustainability, recycling is often one of the first things that come to mind. Recycling at Mizzou has taken many shapes and forms throughout the years. The clearest way to think about it is in terms of the percent of waste diverted per year. Below is a graph representing this data.

Line graph showing the recycling rate at MU. The graph is fairly steady in the mid 20% range, spikes in 2014 and then begins a sloping decent to 15% in 2018.

Interestingly, recycling on campus has not been a clear path; rather there have been many explored recycling options throughout the years. Below is a chart showing the composition and amount of waste Mizzou has produced through the years. It is important to note in this graph that there are factors that greatly affect the recorded amount of waste/recycled materials. Policies throughout the years change and in other instances data is lost or unrecorded.

Stacked bar graph showing the yearly waste/recycling streams for the MU campus.

Category 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Paper/Cardboard 1518.7 1565.61 1553.51 1138.43 1606.1 1578.8 1551.44 1489.07 1678.61 1111.37 985.57 855.46
Scrap Metal 83.88 90.67 66.25 95.68 338.97 176.77 69.03 31.61 64.17 132.24 27.56 67.37
Beverage Containers/1-7 Plastics 47.21 107.19 65.73 101.72 134.68 124.75 122.38 147 131.12 149.42 102.92 52.16
Resale(surplus)/Reuse 92.9 94.81 439.04 245.1 222.4 228.12 240.85 156.73 267.99 155.33 122.43 120.25
Organics 76.65 83.5 105.5 105.5 105.5 207.5 235.03 2113.5 80.9 60.68 0 0
E-Waste 42.07 27.1 24.67 66.2 73.68 94.32 78.78 97.71 116.7 67.08 39.17 112.12
Other Recycled 25.59 26.93 15.08 18.98 23.73 13.44 18 14.62 22.57 15.72 13.08 14.67
Waste 5544.6 6046.19 5082.22 5930.87 5569.97 5970.06 5580.62 5950.14 6173.98 6354.29 6461.7 6456.29
Total (Tons) 7431.6 8042 7352 7702.48 8075.03 8393.76 7896.13 10000.38 8536.04 8046.13 7752.43 7678.32

Per Capita Waste

On a campus of Mizzou’s size, it can be easy to get mixed in with the crowd. What is important to remember; however, is that we are all individuals with individual choices to make. Recycling, although exceptionally important, all boils down to a personal choice each and every one of us have to make for ourselves. A brief glance at the graph below shows that the overall trend in waste generated per campus user per year has steadily increased since 2013. Indeed it would be fair to say some activities on campus generate much more waste than the average campus user, this measurement is still a good rough indication of individual waste production on campus. It takes commitment from each and every one of us to begin to reduce this trend!

Tons of waste per capita on the MU campus. Value has steadily increased since 2014.

Paper Recycling

Were you aware that Mizzou has its own paper baler on campus? Mizzou’s Campus Facility staff collect paper (and to an extent cardboard) from recycling locations on campus and recycles it in-house. The revenue from this recycling effort goes towards funding the program.

Quarterly amount of paper baled by the MU operated paper baler.

It is not surprising that there are large dips in the tons of fiber recycled during the third quarter, as this represents July, August and September; times when activity on campus is low. Since the baler’s establishment, output growth in all quarters have been observed. This is extremely encouraging for the long-term sustainability of the baler program! Given the overall volatility of recycling on the Mizzou campus, the paper baler is a step in the right direction.