Glass-only recycling growing NAU’s sustainability efforts

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NAU is looking to bring the green this year! Five glass-only recycling bins have been added to campus for access by all students, faculty and staff. The bins are placed near the campus bookstore, Health and Learning Center, Applied Research and Development building, W. A. Franke College of Business and the South Village.

NAU is known for strong place-based connections, from our vast ponderosa pine forests to our unique location on the Colorado Plateau,” environmental caucus manager Amanda Kapp said. “It is important to make a connection between this beautiful landscape and our everyday actions such as recycling.”

NAU is no stranger to recycling. Through efforts such as O2GO, NAU Green Jacks, Sodexo’s organic version of reprocessing and more than 100 recycling bins already placed throughout campus, some may wonder—why more? And why glass?

The push for glass-only bins comes from Flagstaff’s regulations about what can be recycled and how. Cities have rules based on its local recycling facilities, and in Flagstaff, glass cannot be commingled with other recyclable materials. This is due to the risk of glass breaking and becoming embedded into other materials, making them incapable of being recycled. In addition, there poses a risk of injury to workers at Flagstaff’s Materials Recovery Center, who separate items by hand.

The United States only recycles about 20 percent of its glass despite there being a strong market for it—glass is one of the fastest materials to be recycled and reappear on store shelves.

“With China no longer accepting many plastics intended for recycling, the market for recyclable plastics is dramatically decreasing,” Kapp said. “This could mean that the market for glass may have room to grow.”

For more information on NAU Green and a detailed map of where the new glass bins are located, visit