United Tribes Technical College Launches Single-Stream Recycling Initiative

Jan 7th, 2016 | By | Category: Online TC News, Tribal College News, Web Exclusive

UTTC students and faculty pitch in and make use of the college’s new single stream recycling bins.

New yellow-topped recycling bins have been strategically in place around campus, signaling that United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) has adopted the single-stream method of recycling. “We’ve had a system in place for quite some time for paper, plastic and cardboard,” says UTTC President Russ McDonald. “But now we’re in step with single-stream recycling.”

Single-stream allows a range of recyclable products to be comingled in the same containers. Paper, plastic, cardboard, glass, aluminum and other materials are later separated at a sorting facility and repurposed into other products. UTTC joins another large educational institution in the area using single-stream: the Bismarck Public School system. Bismarck residents have effectively used single-stream recycling for two years. “Single-stream recycling here is in the beginning phase,” says Jana Millner, RD, LRD, extension nutrition educator with UTTC’s land grant programs and a member of the college’s Healthy Community Coalition. “We expect an upswing in the amount of material the college recycles so we will monitor and adjust pick-up times accordingly.”

In October, six, large single-stream receptacles were positioned on the campus by Waste Management, Inc. Increasing the number of bins will make recycling more accessible to the campus community and expand the college’s program, says Millner. Currently, UTTC has 20 indoor receptacles. Each displays a sign showing what is appropriate to recycle. The larger outdoor recycling bins have green bases and bright yellow lids that distinguish them from outdoor trash bins that are also green but have black lids.


Unlike traditional recycling methods single-stream utilizes just one container for all recyclable products.

As the name implies, single-stream does not require recyclable materials to be separated by type; all go into the same container. Items include aluminum and steel cans; newspapers and magazines; office paper, envelopes and junk mail; glass bottles and jars; plastic bottles, cups and jugs; and cardboard. Containers must be rinsed clean of liquids and all paper and cardboard products must be free of liquid or food debris. Products that are inappropriate for single-stream recycling include Styrofoam; plastic bags; candy wrappers; medical sharps; batteries, lightbulbs and other electronics.

Millner and the UTTC Healthy Community Coalition are working with college staff and students to set-up systems and routines in offices, classrooms, and buildings that provide for emptying containers into the larger receptacles. “Members of the Healthy Community Coalition deserve our cooperation and appreciation for spearheading this work,” says UTTC President McDonald. “This will lead to very productive recycling routines that will become automatic as time goes on.”

“It’s such an important step forward,” says Millner. “We at United Tribes are aware of our responsibility to the environment and our role as stewards of the land for future generations. Every plastic bottle put in a recycle bin instead of a landfill—every effort we make, big or small—adds up.”

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