The Ohio State University at Marion

Officially first zero waste campus in the state

Higher education and state corrections partner to achieve sustainability milestone

The Ohio State University at Marion and Marion Technical College cooperative venture with Marion Correctional Institution Recycling Processing Center and Sims Brothers Recycling has reached it's ultimate goal of becoming Ohio’s first zero waste campus.

The Marion campus received certification and details in their most recent waste processing report that 7,019 pounds of recycled material, or 91% of the total campus waste in December 2014 was diverted from landfills and sent to be recycled. 

An organization can officially consider itself zero waste if it reaches 90 percent recycled waste material. 

The process, which began as a pilot program in 2013 and was officially adopted by the campus in July 2014, begins with “All-In-One” containers being available in offices and locations across the Marion campus.

All solid waste materials are then sent to a centralized collection dumpster on campus provided by Sims Brothers Recycling, which the company transports to Marion Correctional Institution (MCI). MCI prisoners working at the correctional facility recycling center sort through refuse to maximize the amount of waste material being recycled and composted to minimize the campus’ ecological footprint.

The Marion campus efforts are part of an overarching emphasis placed on sustainability at The Ohio State University.

According to Marion Campus Director of Facilities and Security Ron Turner, this innovative partnership provides the campus an annual waste removal cost savings of $5,100 per year, while also keeping an annual estimate of 90 tons of waste material out of landfills annually.

As a precautionary measure, both Marion Technical College and Ohio State Marion shred confidential documents in a bulk shredder through campus facilities. MCI added another precautionary measure to safe guard personal information by sending any un-shredded documents through a shredder at the facility before prisoners begin the sorting process.

Proceeds from the recycled material fund equipment needs at the recycling processing center. The Marion campus pays a small fee to Sims for the fuel charges for hauling the dumpster from the campus to MCI.

At the end of each month, the campus receives a full report from MCI of the waste/recycling that was processed that month.