After multiple postings to Facebook and Reddit, the dual-recycling and garbage receptacles in the new Jamrich Hall have been declared a phony.
The nine containers in the new Jamrich Hall are designated as dual-use containers, allowing people to throw recyclables in one side and trash in the other. However removing the containers’ lid reveals that the trash and recyclables go into one bag.
The Reddit post made by user SensibleMadness was on the international website’s front page earlier today, September 24. The user claimed that NMU staff did not treat the recyclables or trash differently when changing the bags.
“The trash cans at work have a little bin on the side for recycling cans and whatnot. I used to be very diligent about separating recyclables into that little bin until one day I was working late and saw the cleaning staff dump both the trash can and the recycling bin into the same big bucket. Now I don’t bother,” SensibleMadness said in their post.
Marquette Social Scene became aware of the issue on September 9 and have been investigating since. In the two weeks of our investigation, at no time did any of the containers have separated bags for recyclables and trash. Assuming a standard 32-gallon trash bag for each of the nine containers and daily changes of the trash cans during the school week, that means up to 3,456 gallons of trash has been disposed of under the guise of both trash and recycling.
Multiple calls and voice mails during the course of our investigation to Herb Brundage of Northern Michigan University Plant Operations have been unanswered regarding the process in how the trash and recycling is obtained. Brundage, husband of Associate Dean of Students Mary Brundage, is the building supervisor for the new Jamrich Hall.
The containers in Jamrich Hall have two slots — one for trash and one for recycling. Both are color coded and marked for building users to put in the trash or recyclables accordingly. A photo taken by Marquette Social Scene on September 16 shows that some bins had two bags in them. One bag was clear, while the top layer was black. The bags were layered, with the black bag being on top, but no divider was inside the container to separate the items like the top of the container implied.
Jamrich Hall is a new building on campus for the 2014-15 school year, replacing the old Jamrich Hall. The building has three floors, an auditorium, the new Starbucks location and multiple offices for faculty. The building has already received critique from some students in a North Wind story on September 4, shortly before Marquette Social Scene started investigating the receptacles. Jamrich was declared a LEED certified building for its environmental sustainability.
Sophomore Dean Savard was one of the people who shared his own pictures on Facebook of the container discrepancy. He discovered that both slots led to the same bag when he put a pop bottle in the recyclable side and saw it on the trash side.
“I noticed the bottle through the trash hole and then saw a single bag for both holes when I decided to take off the lid,” Sevard said. “The whole thing is something I feel like I’d expect from this university. It seems that NMU likes to find superficial ways to make the place looks good rather than doing things that are beneficial.”