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Edmund’s College
Rebecca Bateman – ESD2 Assignment 1

Personal Change
Recycling Bins in
St. Edmund’s
College Buildings

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Recycling at St. Edmund’s
Current Recycling Capabilities

Glass Recycling Bins

Recycling Bins
Glass Paper
(Glass, Paper,
Recycling Recycling Bins
Cans, Plastic,


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Recycling at St. Edmund’s
Project Motivation

Lack of full set of bins in any residence building makes it

difficult for students to recycle their personal waste. Many
students do not recycle at all due to lack of available facilities Students’ only option is to
in college buildings. (Studies show that most people will not collect personal recycling
recycle if it is inconvenient or difficult.2) oneself in room and take it
to curbside bins.

In light of the University

committing to the Cambridge City
Climate Change Charter and the
current social/political atmosphere
surrounding recycling, I felt it was I wanted to make it easier for
unacceptable for St. Edmund’s to students to recycle to
be so lacking. decrease amount of waste at
St. Edmund’s that goes into

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Proposed Changes
- Adding the illustrated bin to the
Richard Laws and Brian Heap
- Students buildings.
would separate materials
into various bin compartments that
are lined with plastic bags.
-Housekeeping would empty recycle
Plastic, Can bin on a regular basis and take
material to curbside bins.

These buildings were chosen

because they have the most
space for new bins. Further
buildings were not pursued
because it was felt it would be an
easier sell to college
administration to focus on only
two areas.
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Recycling at St. Edmund’s
1. I spoke with St. Edmund’s current and former Environmental Officers.
They informed me of the following:
• Glass bins currently in residence buildings (emptied by housekeeping) were
a test. If it was successful, then further material bins were to be added.
Momentum for this initiative was lost, and it was never again pursued.
• College administration has mixed feelings on sustainability. Bursar’s Office is
supportive, while Master’s Office is not.
• I should speak with the College Housekeeper about putting in bins for her
staff to empty.

2. I met with the Housekeeper. She was very reluctant and defensive about
having her staff empty the bins.
• She felt it would be added work for the staff (larger and heavier bags to move),
although I countered that the total amount of waste they removed would be the
• She did not feel the students would comply with recycling directions (e.g., washing
and proper material separation).
• She finally agreed to a three-month trial period of having housekeeping staff empty
the bins if the students or college purchased the bins.
• If there was sufficient student compliance, the system could continue.

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Recycling at St. Edmund’s
Actions (cont.)
3. On the advice of our Environmental Officer, I submitted a written request to the Bursar’s
Office to cover half the costs of the new proposed bins.

4. As of the time of writing this, the letter was still under review. The Bursar’s Office
has advised that as this cost was not in the yearly budget, chances are low for
approval. The CR may have to foot the entire bill, which the Environmental Officer
tells me should be acceptable.

5. If and when bins are purchased and placed in college, I will be starting an
educational campaign to advertise proper use of the bins to the students –
including obtaining fliers from the City of Cambridge Recycling Program,
emails to all students, instructions posted near the bins, and word of mouth
among my friends.

6. Ideally, this scheme would last for years into the future.

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Recycling at St. Edmund’s
• I am glad I began my project by speaking with my College
Environmental Officer. I encountered a lot of resistance as pursued
this project, and it was nice to have a supportive voice in the mix.

• I was shocked to hear the Master’s Office was so unsupportive of

Sustainability. In fact, a Sustainability Plan that a previous Environment
Officer wrote was flatly rejected by the Master. It is amazing to me that
anyone in a position of power in this day and age can care so little about
sustainability – especially when they are a part of a larger organization that
supports it.

• I encountered a great deal of resistance from the College Housekeeper. The meeting
with her was very uncomfortable. She had obviously been approached many times
by students about this and seemed to take out her frustrations on me; she was
hostile straight from the beginning of the meeting. I felt I was very rational and
polite, while she was defensive. I left the meeting feeling shaken and angry, although
I was pleased she agreed to the trial period compromise.

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Recycling at St. Edmund’s
Reflections (cont.)
• My hope is that if this initiative succeeds, it will last well into the future. I
know that the Environmental Officers have been pushing for years for
something like this, but they feel a bit beaten down by its past failures.
Hopefully my entry as a fresh face on the issue will give it some weight.

• I worry about student compliance with recycling procedures. Until I met with the
Housekeeper, I wasn’t concerned. But, as she has attached so much importance
to this, I get the feeling I may not be seeing the whole picture. My plan is to enlist
the help of my friends that live in these buildings to persuade fellow students to
properly use the bins.

• I also hope money to purchase the bins does not derail my plans.
It is possible that there will not be sufficient funds, but I will have
to cross that bridge when I come to it.

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Recycling at St. Edmund’s

So far, I consider the project a success.

There was doubt I could convince the
Housekeeper of my idea, and this seemed
to be the biggest hurdle.

We’ll see what the future holds….

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Recycling at St. Edmund’s
1 St. Edmund’s College 2007, ‘Map of the College’, St Edmunds : Life at St Edmund's : Map of the College. Available
from: <> [22 February 2009].

2 Aceti Associates of Arlington, MA 2002, ‘Recycling: Why People Participate; Why They Don’t’, Massachusetts
Department of Environmental Protection. Available from: <>
[24 February 2009].

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Recycling at St. Edmund’s
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Recycling at St. Edmund’s
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Recycling at St. Edmund’s
Home Recycling Unit
Separate glass, plastic, cans, paper,
used batteries and inkjet cartridges
Three 18 litre bins: glass, plastic, cans, which fit inside a
supporting base, which also has a 17 litre pull out storage
draw for paper (total storage of 71 litres). Each bins can
be accessed through a chute at the front, or via the lift off
lid. Hand holes at the back allow for easy removal of the
bins from the base.
Size: Height: 740mm Width: 600mm Depth: 220mm

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Recycling at St. Edmund’s