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The Recycling Process

The Stages of Our Recycling Process

The University recycling program was designed to make recycling convenient and easy to understand for students, faculty, staff and visitors to the Amherst campus. Participation is made easy through a single stream (All-In-One Bin) recycling program (began Fall 2012) that allows the co-mingling of bottles, cans and paper materials. Brightly colored blue or green recycling bins are stationed in every office, lab, classroom, meeting room, cafeteria and dorm room within the campus's 200 buildings.

In Academic and Administrative buildings recycling bins are emptied by custodians on a weekly or twice weekly schedule.  Residence Halls provide either end of hall recycling/trash rooms or require students to bring recycling and trash to locations just outside their building.

Office of Waste Management trucks empty the large wheeled recycling carts once per week from points (known as trash pads or enclosures) located outside of all campus buildings.  The trash and recycling packer trucks are interchangeable and appear similar but are in fact dedicated to collecting specific waste streams – 2 trucks for trash, 2 for food waste, one for cardboard and one for single stream recycling. The trucks return all materials collected on campus to the WRTF (Waste Recovery and Transfer Facility) located at 151 Tillson Farm Rd. near the Police Station on the eastern end of campus.  

While some processing of recyclables occurs at the WRTF, it is not the end of the line for the 500-600 tons/yr. of glass, metal, plastic, paper and cardboard collected from campus. The 18 cubic yard truckloads of recyclables collected on campus are consolidated at the WRTF into compacted 40 cubic yard containers (roll-offs) for shipment to the Springfield MRF.  

The term MRF (Materials Recovery Facility) refers to operations that perform several value added functions including: sorting of recyclables by material type, contaminant removal, and, finally, densification (e.g. baling).  From the Springfield MRF, valuable recovered materials are shipped to refiners, mills, and smelters (often overseas) where they serve as important industrial inputs in the manufacture of new products and pack, You can see video of Springfield MRF operations and and the Western Mass. regional recycling program at Springfield MRF.  

The UMass WRTF does not sort mixed containers or paper but it does: (1) sort other types of recyclables, (2) bale cardboard and (3) consolidates recyclables into truckload quantities for cost-effective transport.