Writer: Nathan Woodbury
Brigham Young University-Idaho's Recycling Center will host a public open house on Thursday, October 18 to educate about and encourage recycling in the community of Rexburg. The facility will be open at 10:00 a.m. for media outlets and university staff and 4:00 p.m. for community residents. The BYU-Idaho Recycling Center is located on the corner of 1st West and 5th South, across from campus.
"We've had a lot of positive feedback from the community, so we wanted to give them a chance to see for themselves what happens to their recycling after it gets picked up," said Randy White, general manager of the BYU-Idaho Recycling Center.
The BYU-Idaho Recycling Center represents a partnership between the university and the city of Rexburg to increase sustainability citywide. That partnership recently led to the purchase of a brand new baler capable of providing bales of recycling at sizes and weights more in line with the industry standard. It will also allow the facility to bale paper, aluminum, and tin, in addition to the cardboard and plastics previously baled and processed.
"Our old machinery just couldn't handle the amount or variety of recycling that we receive. We can now create better bales then we previously could, saving us money on shipping and storage costs," said operations manager Sean Jackson.
The BYU-Idaho Recycling Center is operated by four student interns and 27 student employees who sort recyclables by hand. The facility collects recycling from more than 1,200 homes, 11 schools, and Madison Memorial Hospital. Apartment complexes and commercial recycling are scheduled to be added in January. The BYU-Idaho Recycling Center handles close to 10 tons of recyclables a week.
The BYU-Idaho Recycling Center reports that the city of Rexburg's recyclables have a purity rate of 94 percent, meaning just 6 percent of what is received is not recyclable. By comparison, the national average is 15 to 20 percent.
"We attribute the high purity levels in Rexburg to the willingness of citizens to educate themselves and their families," said Nathan Woodbury, marketing manager for the BYU-Idaho Recycling Center. "Every day we are impressed with the level of participation and excitement of the community."
The BYU-Idaho Recycling Center operates as not-for-profit. All revenues are put back into hiring students or purchasing machinery for the facility. The center began as a campus program whose resources were extended to the city in early 2011. The BYU-Idaho Recycling Center is currently self-sustaining.