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Iowa State Daily

Iowa State celebrates America Recycles Day

Iowa+State+celebrates+America+Recycles+Day
Ben DeMarais

Steve Kohtz stood brazenly outside Parks Library, brandishing his blue plaid suit patched with recycling emblems all across his jacket and pants. Known by many on campus as “Recycling Steve,” Kohtz serves as the recycling and special events coordinator for Iowa State. His mission Wednesday was to make students aware of the nationally recognized day dedicated to recycling.

America Recycles Day began in 1994 after two employees of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality suggested the idea to the National Recycling Coalition. Over 40 states took part in the first celebration Nov. 15, 1994. 

“The day is dedicated to educating and encouraging individuals on how to be more mindful of what they consume, where and how to properly recycle,” as stated on the Keep America Beautiful website.

“Recycling is truly the way of the future,” Kohtz said. “We are a generation of waste and reusing can save not only money but our environment too.”

As part of Iowa State and Kohtz’s promotion of the celebration, signs were placed along the sidewalk of Catt Hall displaying various recycling statistics and facts.  

Kohtz also promoted the city of Ames’ newly initiated recycling drop-off program taking effect in December. The new initiative will create drop-off zones for individuals to bring their recyclable waste.

Another focus of Kohtz’s message was making students aware of Iowa State’s single stream recycling process. According to the Iowa State University website, “Single stream recycling allows all recyclables to be placed in the bins for recycling rather than sorting them individually.” 

These collected materials from campus are taken to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Des Moines where they are sorted and sold to markets as raw materials to produce new products. Single-stream recycling at Iowa State is designed to increase the ease and convenience of recycling, encourage more participation, and save resources by reducing waste.

All recyclable waste at Iowa State is placed into blue bins located throughout campus where glass and metal are later sorted out from the mix. It is noted that non-acceptable items for Iowa State’s blue recycling bins include plastic bags, foam cups and any food waste.

“We want to challenge students to actively think about recycling and answer any questions they might have,” Kohtz said.

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