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Recycling at Calvin

Responding to God's call to care for creation, Calvin College initiated a recycling program in the early 1980's. What started as a basic program to collect glass, metal, plastic and paper products has grown into a service able to handle a wide range of materials from styrofoam to construction debris. We are always looking to expand in new directions, so if you have an idea you want to share, please look for contact information below.

The recycling program at Calvin College is managed by Grounds department staff.  In addition to commonly recycled items such as paper, glass, metal and plastic, resident students and staff can recycle a variety of other materials.  The college’s Recycling Coordinator oversees the program and records totals on a yearly basis.

In 2013, the recycling totals included:

  • 7,577 fluorescent lamps
  • 1200 lbs. of batteries
  • 11.45 tons of electronics
  • 45 cubic yards of polystyrene
  • 24.89 tons of scrap iron
  • 1815 tons of asphalt
  • 24.7 tons of glass/metal/plastic
  • 68.46 tons of cardboard
  • 64.31 tons of paper
  • 451 tons of compostable material from the dining halls
    (Program launched 5/1/12)

According to industry standards, Calvin's 2013 paper and cardboard recycling alone saved:

  • 2,257 trees
  • 929,390 gallons of water
  • 438 cubic yards of landfill space
  • 10,489 gallons of oil
  • 7,966 pounds of air pollution effluents from entering the atmosphere

Calvin also recycles:

  • Hazardous waste
  • Used oil and antifreeze
  • Organic material from Grounds Department work

Recycling Guidelines

This is a list of items that can be recycled at Calvin:

Paper

Includes: All office/copy/printer paper, envelopes, newsprint, phone books, glossy/magazine paper, soft-cover books, and bags.

Excludes: Paper towels, napkins, tissues, padded envelopes, hard covers of books and laminated paper.

Note: Staples, paperclips and window envelopes are ok. When recycling books, please remove plastic or metal bindings and hard covers.

Paperboard

Includes: Shoe boxes, food and other product packaging boxes.

Excludes: Milk or juice cartons and boxes.

Note: Please remove all food items and linings.

Corrugated Cardboard

Includes: All boxes with 'wavy' middle layer.

Excludes: Pizza boxes.

Note: Please remove all contents and break down the box.

Glass/Metal/Plastic

Includes: All food and beverage containers, plastic grocery bags #2 and #4, clean aluminum foil, empty aerosol cans, soap/detergent/shampoo containers, and plastic items #1-7.

Excludes: Styrofoam, window glass, mirrors, porcelain, large plastic items (i.e. pales, barrels), sandwich/bread bags, plastic cutlery, bubble wrap, and sheet plastic.

Note: Please remove all items from containers.

Electronics

Includes: All electronic items owned by the college and resident students.

Note: If your electronic item is in working condition, consider bringing it to a thrift store or donation site. Please remove and recycle all batteries.

Batteries

Includes: All types of batteries from college and resident student devices.

Note: Please bring to the Physical Plant, a Building Services worker, residence desk, or department office.

Styrofoam

Includes: Clean, white, molded polystyrene.

Excludes: Food cartons/trays, packing peanuts and expanded foam.

Note: Please remove all labels, tape and glue.

Lamps

Includes: All types of light bulbs.

Note: Please bring to the Physical Plant or a Building Services worker for proper handling and storage.

Ballasts (for electricians only)

Includes: All types of ballasts.

Note: Please remove excess wire.

Universal Waste Items

Includes: All items that contain mercury, lead or other hazardous materials.

Note: Please place in a labeled box and bring it to the Physical Plant for proper handling. Hazardous material should be removed by appropriately trained personnel only. Contact the Environment Health and Safety department for assistance.

Scrap Metal

Includes: All metal items that do not qualify as hazardous or universal waste.

Note: Refrigerants, fuels and oils must be removed by the Mechanical Maintenance department.

Construction Debris (Physical Plant only)

Includes: Items generated by on-campus renovation and repair such as plumbing components, electrical wire, broken concrete and scrap iron.

Compostable Material

Includes: Plant material generated by grounds department activity and compostable material from dining halls.

Excludes: Food and biodegradable trash.

Note: Please bring to the Physical Plant Grounds department for proper disposal or contact the Grounds department to arrange a pick up.

Additional items that cannot be recycled

Includes: Laminated paper, transparencies, cartons with plastic spouts (Tetra Pak), and contaminated food and beverage containers.

Contact Info

Henry Kingma
Recycling Coordinator
Phone: (616) 526-6846
Email: hkingma@calvin.edu