Green organizations table at the Memorial Union for America Recycles Day


Talon Delaney

Recycling coordinator Oluwalana at his office in the university’s General Services Building. 

Leila Doric

Organizations on campus tabled in the Memorial Union Thursday to spread awareness to students on the importance of recycling on campus while celebrating America Recycles Day.

Ayodeji Oluwalana, recycling coordinator for Facilities Planning and Management, was one of the hosts of the event and said he has been wanting to inform students about recycling on campus.

“We felt like today being America Recycles Day was the perfect opportunity to reach out to the community,” Oluwalana said.

The organizations that participated in the event included Facilities Planning and Management, the Live Green! Initiative, Green Umbrella and the Greenhouse Group. 

One of the goals discussed by Oluwalana was how Iowa State could possibly go zero waste within five to seven years. He said zero waste at Iowa State would mean reducing the impact the university has at the landfill.

“We are looking at the possibility of 80 to 90 percent of our waste not going into the landfill, that is our definition of zero waste, it is our goal,” Oluwalana said.

Oluwalana said next year there is a possibility of a campus wide-waste audit to better understand how much recyclable material generated at Iowa State ends up in landfills. He said he is currently looking for students and faculty to volunteer in creating a zero-waste team.

“I am the only recycling coordinator,” Oluwalana said. “I can’t be everywhere, it is almost like the students are my face out on campus.”

Oluwalana said he wants to raise awareness about recycling, and he hopes the event could answer questions students have regarding recycling on campus.

“My message that I would really love students to know is that recycling has come to stay in Iowa State and we need your support to keep it coming,” Oluwalana said.

Oluwalana said some of the most common questions students have regarding recycling pertain to what items can actually go into the trash and which are meant to be recycled.

Toni Sleugh, director of sustainability for Student Government, said the information presented at the event is meant to raise awareness and to answer questions about what can and can’t be recycled.

Oluwalana said having events like these are important to him because he is able to reach out to students face-to-face and guide them on how to sort trash, the importance of rinsing recyclable items and explain which items go into specific bins.

“We hope that people get a clearer picture of our recycling works at Iowa State as we move forward,” Oluwalana said.

The table included posters with general information on recycling, as well as recycling on campus specifically.

In the 2018 fiscal year, over 3,000 tons of trash were sent to the landfill from Iowa State, according to an informational poster at the table. Per month, Iowa State accumulates over 25,000 pounds of paper waste, according to the poster.

The table also included a trash sorting game for visitors to play and compete in winning prizes, such as a Live Green! t-shirt.