Drury University and several local entities have joined forces to create the Central Street Recycling Coalition.
The coalition is the brainchild of David Roling, vice president of administration at Ozarks Technical Community College (OTC). Roling envisioned the organization as a way to defray some of the costs associated with recycling and make it an easier, more attractive option that will encourage local entities to dispose of their waste in greener ways.
“It occurred to me,” says Roling, “That with the number of institutions and public entities located in the six or so blocks bordering Central Street that we could set a model for others to follow in the area of recycling and sustainability.”
Roling’s idea struck a chord with associate professor of biology, Dr. Wendy Anderson. “David Roling approached Sarah Davis and me about a partnership for our recycling efforts,” says Anderson, “He wondered if we collectively generated enough volume, if we might be able to generate some revenue from it. So, we moved forward, and opened up the conversation to all of the other partners.”
The members of the coalition include Drury University, OTC, Springfield Public Schools, the Midtown Library, City Utilities, the City of Springfield and Greene County. Member institutions will deliver their materials to the bins on Central Street. A Drury intern or OTC work-study student will help with the delivery and log how much each member delivers. The recycling center will remain open for use by all employees and students of these institutions and for use by residents of this center-city neighborhood.
Sarah Davis, recycling coordinator for the Drury campus, expresses hope that the alliance will serve to unite participants in the recycling effort.
“I think it’s a fabulous project!” says Davis, “Right now, many buildings along Central street practice the collection of recyclables, but this unified coalition and centralized recycling center will make these efforts easier. Each of the members of this coalition has unique things to offer: the city offices will be able to provide the transportation needed for hauling glass recyclables, OTC is trying to allot work-study students to help maintain the recycling site, and Drury is offering the location for the coalition’s recycling center.”
Already, OTC has established an internal recycling committee, and Drury has opened the Drury University Central Street Recycling Center on Central Street, just south of Clay Street to the other coalition members to bring their paper, plastic, metals, cardboard, and eventually glass.
Each member of the coalition will initially contribute about $1,000 to get the program going, but Anderson anticipates that the project will eventually develop into a self-sustaining recycling program: “We are revising our contracts to have the recycling companies directly empty the Dumpsters and to provide revenue for those products,” says Anderson. “That will hopefully more than offset the cost of the container rentals or purchase, and the cost of emptying them. The increased volume from these partners using the containers will make this very worthwhile for all of us.”