Recycling program considers new options


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — The University of Arkansas considers new options after its recycling broker was sending large amounts of recyclables to the landfill.

Two months ago the U of A released a statement about the school’s recycling broker, Smurfit Kappa, stating mixed plastics and unsorted mixed papers were being thrown in the landfill.

Despite what happened, the University said the problem is resolved with no changes to the recycling program.

The U of A was under the impression recyclables were being recycled properly.

University of Arkansas Facilities Management Building Services Associate Director John Crow said the school had no idea that was going on.

“As soon as we found out, we made sure that we got a hold of them and stop that practice right away,” Crow said.

The problem occurred because Smurfit Kappa sells recyclables to China, the country which buys the most U.S. recyclables.

China banned imports of mixed plastics and mixed papers.

As of now, the U of A is still under the same contract with Smurfit Kappa and has not changed the way it collects recyclable items on campus.

“We took it seriously and we made sure that was resolved but at the same time we are trying to explore our options,” Crow said.

Options including potential new contracts.

University of Arkansas Facilities Management Communication Coordinator Breanna Lacy said she recycles herself.

She said she was alarmed when this happened and the university is making sure it doesn’t happen again.

“It’s not going to be a quick process and poof everything’s perfect,” Lacy said.

Lacy said there are no set plans on if and when they will reconsider the contract, but she said there is no way the university is going to overlook what happened.

“It’s not something that we are just going to ignore or brush over,” she said.

The university is taking its time on finding a solution because according to Lacy, there is no reason in rushing to make a decision especially since the school wants to make the right one.

She said they need to think about all their options to ensure their choice keeps them sustainable and is easy for the students.

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