Recycling rules!

Jan 15, 2013

Team effort initiates major recycling push at Kettering University.

Color paper recyclingKettering University now has a formal recycling program, thanks to a campus-wide team effort.  Kettering can now process a select list of used materials, rather than sending them to local landfills.  While still in its early stages, this effort is literally growing by the ton!

“Kettering has been recycling select materials for years, participating in the Flint University Recycling Challenge, GEO’s Battle of the Bins and by processing tons of computer and electronic equipment, light bulbs and batteries in the past decade,” said Nadine Thor, director of Auxiliary Services. “I think we’re moving forward in the right direction with cardboard and paper and we’re working towards expanding into plastics and metals.

“Congratulations are due to the Kettering Community and the recycling leaders on campus, including our custodians and maintenance staff members,” she added. 

Battery recyclingOne of the founding voices of this recycling effort belongs to Roy Densmore, Senior HVAC Technician.  Densmore was surprised that the University didn’t have a comprehensive recycling plan when he arrived at Kettering in June 2011. “I was able to bring a different perspective to recycling that was readily shared with a group of forward thinking facilities staff,” Densmore said.  “I shared my views on conversion rates that I learned working with Sears Cardboard Equals Dollars program. All we needed was a nod of approval and we moved forward.”

The University now dedicates a small room and large storage space for recycling on the first floor of the Campus Center, down the hall from the Wellness Center.  It serves as a permanent home for the collecting and processing of materials that otherwise would be trashed.

Yes – Kettering recycles:

White Paper
Dirty (Colored) Paper

No – Kettering doesn’t recycle yet:

Metals from off campus
Light bulbs (with ballast)                                  

Electronics recyclingDustin Short, HVAC/Locksmith in Facilities, said Kettering needed this service.  “It’s amazing what this campus uses,” Short said. “Just as amazing is the team effort we have going to get it up and operating.  It starts with faculty, staff and students all over campus who choose to recycle and help us by sorting recyclable materials in every building on campus.”  Custodial has a major part in this and so does Sodexo,” Short said.  “They bring it here to the recycling center so we can take it to the next step.”

Maintenance workers finish the sorting and prepare the growing volumes for transport.  The recent purchase of a used, commercial compactor baler allows materials to be baled for sale.  “We now have the ability to keep tons of materials out of the landfill,” Short explained.  “And all because the Kettering community sorts; custodial collects and delivers; and maintenance compacts.”

Recycling statistics are stacking up.  A cardboard bale generally weighs from 750 to 980 pounds.  Cost for the truck to haul away materials is $350 a visit.  Kettering is shipping 15 bales about every six weeks – a cost-saving improvement from small loads previously shipped three weeks apart.  "The ultimate goal is to have the cardboard and other recyclables pay for our waste removal. Think of it as free garbage service! "

Cardboard recyclingThe top recycled items are:

#1 – cardboard (worth $25/ton)
#2 – clean, white papers (worth $55/ton)
#3 – (dirty) colored papers (worth $35/ton)

Kettering has added recycling precious metals from around campus (brass, copper, aluminum and steel) for sale to its conservation effort.  The University is not yet ready to accept metals from off-campus.

The maintenance crew asks that recycling be placed in the Recycling Center.  Please do not leave materials on the loading dock.

Questions on Kettering’s recycling program can be directed to Joyce Humphrey in Physical Plant at


Contact: Patricia Mroczek