ISU Headlines

Pilot Idaho State University recycling project begins at Reed Gym

Posted April 9, 2010

The start of a pilot-recycling project at the Idaho State University Reed Gymnasium corresponds with the approach 2010 Earth Day on April 22.

An ad hoc committee of University and community members is promoting expanded recycling collection at ISU to help move the University down the road to better sustainability. These efforts have been enhanced by an $18,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to promote recycling education awarded to two ISU political science faculty members, Donna Lybecker and Mark McBeth. The program will supplement and expand existing recycling efforts on campus.

Mark McBeth and Donna Lybecker show how it is done.Grant funds are being used to help educate the campus, purchase recycling bins and to set up a low-cost, more comprehensive recycling collection system at ISU that will depend on volunteer support. Up to 200 recycling bins can be purchased with grant funds.

Organizers are also sponsoring a poster contest at ISU to create a recycling symbol and slogan. Contest entries are due April 15 (for more information on the contest visit and prizes will be awarded.

“We completed a survey in fall 2009 of more than 400 students, faculty and staff and 86 percent of the respondents support an expanded recycling program,” McBeth said. “The ISU community supports recycling for a variety of reasons. We’re using Reed Gymnasium as a pilot project to develop a collection system, before we expand the program to other buildings on campus.”

Reed Gym was chosen because of it is a high visibility building with a lot of traffic. Blue recycling containers have been distributed throughout the building and placed near trashcans. The bins can be used to recycle plastic, aluminum and paper. While cardboard will continue to be recycled through the University’s existing recycling program, it can be placed in the binds as well. Committee member Bill MacLachlan from Reed Gym has also ordered recycling dump bins from the City of Pocatello to be located outside the building and emptied twice on month.

“We’ll be using Campus Recreation staff to empty the inside recycling bins to the outside bins that are picked up by the city,” MacLachlan said. “This will not be an additional cost for our department.”

The ISU Recycling Committee hopes the new program will dramatically reduce the amount of trash ISU produces and will cut down on trash collection costs for the University. Funds saved from the trash pickup could potentially be shifted to pay for recyclable pickup.

Idaho State University was the first university in Idaho to start a recycling program in 1989.  Since then, however, both the University of Idaho and Boise State University have developed more comprehensive recycling and sustainability efforts.

“We’ve fallen behind the other universities recycling and sustainability efforts, but this is a major step forward,” Lybecker said. “Besides the ecological consequences, sustainability is very important issue for today’s students, faculty and staff, and we need to pay attention to that.”

Some other buildings and departments are scheduled to receive new bins including engineering, business pharmacy and political science. For more information, contact Donna Lybecker at, Mark McBeth at, or phone (208) 282-2211.



About Idaho State University

Idaho State University, a Carnegie-classified doctoral research institution founded in 1901, educates approximately 14,000 students per year in more than 280 programs. It is Idaho’s lead institution in health professions and medical education. Its seven colleges engage in a broad range of innovative research, teaching, and learning in the natural and physical sciences, humanities, performing and visual arts, education, engineering, business, pharmacy, and technology. Visit ISU today at