Why Recycle at Amherst College

Amherst-College-Specific Recycling Facts:

Recycling plays a significant role in the reduction of greenhouse gasses, as well as many other benefits. To personalize some of the benefits of recycling for Amherst College:
If every student at Amherst College recycled just one more aluminum can every day they’re here, recycling those cans back into the manufacturing process instead of sending them to the landfill would:
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of taking 19 passenger cars off the road.
  • Save enough energy to run more than 120 tv sets, 24 hours/day, all year long.
If every student at Amherst College used one less sheet of paper every day, either by double sided copying or by using “print preview” to avoid unnecessary printings, it would:
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of not burning almost 800 gallons of gasoline.
  • Save over 30 trees worth of paper.
Every time we bring trash to the landfill, we have to pay $70-$80/ton just to open the track and dump out the trash. Each year, the College has to spend one student’s entire tuition, room and board just to dump our trash at the landfill. Stop throwing your money away. Recycle!!!

The justifications for recycling can be grouped into 3 primary categories:
  • Environmental
  • Financial
  • Legal
Environmental Justifications for Recycling:
Recycling is basically a manufacturing process. With recycling, a portion of our “waste” that still has value is collected and diverted back into the manufacturing process to make new products (re-cycled). This recycling-based manufacturing process has many benefits compared to a “traditional” manufacturing process.
  • A recycling–based manufacturing system plays a significant role in reducing greenhouse gasses and preventing global climate change. For more information about recycling and greenhouse gas emissions/global climate change, click here.
  • Recycling preserves natural resources.
  • A recycling-based system uses far less energy than a non-recycling-based manufacturing press.
  • A recycling-based system preserves more clean air and clean water than a non-recycling based system.
  • Recycling helps to eliminate the need for new landfills and to preserve the life of existing landfills.

For a more detailed explanation of the benefits of a recycling-based manufacturing system, click here.

Financial Justifications for Recycling:

Recycling has proven to be the most cost-effective way to manage the vast majority of waste materials. Here’s how:

  • For every ton of material that we recycle at Amherst College, or that we do not generate in the first place, we do not have to pay to dump that material at the landfill. Currently, the tipping fee at the landfill that we save by recycling is $70-80/ton (that is just the cost to open our truck at the landfill, not the cost of the truck, the cost of the bins, or the cost of collecting trash).
  • For many materials, the college not only avoids the landfilling cost, but also generates some revenue from the sale of that material.
  • Not every recyclable material generates revenue or can be recycled for free. For some recyclable materials, there is a cost to recycle those materials. However, if there is a cost, that cost for most materials is significantly less than the $70-80/ton that would be paid to send them to the landfill.

Legal Justifications for Recycling:

As per CMR19.017, there is a ban in Massachusetts on landfilling, incinerating, or transferring for disposal many different waste materials. This includes the following materials:

  • Lead-acid batteries
  • Leaves & Yard Waste
  • Landscaping wood waste – including large branches, stumps, etc.
  • Tires
  • White goods – these are essentially appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, ovens, clothes washers, clothes dryers, and other appliances
  • Aluminum containers, metal containers, glass containers, and single-polymer plastic containers
  • Recyclable paper
  • Cathode ray tubes
  • Asphalt, brick, concrete & pavement
  • Scrap metal
  • Wood