The Cost and Fate of Campus Trash and Recycling


QUESTION #1: How much does SUNY Cobleskill pay when you toss recyclable paper or containers into a TRASH bin?
ANSWER: $80 (per ton)


QUESTION #2: How much does the "College" pay when you place recyclable containers or paper into a RECYCLING bin?
ANSWER: Nothin', Nada, Zero, Zip

That's right. The local solid waste agency, MOSA, charges the College nothing to unload recyclable items like paper, cardboard, and plastic, glass and metal containers. However MOSA charges the College about $80 per ton for trash disposal. So the recycling habits of students, faculty and staff have a direct and significant impact on the financial health of the College, and ultimately tuition.

All of the recyclable and non-recyclable (i.e. trash) from the College go the transfer station on Route 7 in Howes Cave. The transfer station is operated by MOSA --the Montgomery-Otsego-Schoharie[Solid Waste Management] Authority ( ). The transfer station has two buildings. In one building, garbage trucks dump trash. The trash is consolidated and compacted into a larger truck, destined for a distance landfill, as far away as Seneca Falls, NY ( 160 miles, one-way). The long haul is one reason for the $80 per ton fee. The other building at the transfer station is for recycled items. From here, different large trucks carry the recyclables to a sorting and recovery facility in Albany. MOSA gets paid for recyclables because they have value to the recycler.

So, the next time you have to find a home for waste paper or a soda bottle, seek out a blue recycling bin. It is OK to put containers and paper in the same bin. They get mixed to together on their way to the recycling facility anyway (but try to reuse paper printed on one side only). Don 't forget to empty containers of lingering liquids. Waste audits conducted by waste management students (AGEN 310) have shown that liquids left in containers make up almost 20% of the weight of the trash thrown away in dorms. At $80 per ton, that is expensive and unnecessary liquid trash.

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Trash truck making the trip to the recycling center in Albany
Trash truck making the trip to the recycling facility in Albany


Waste Management students sorting out trash
Waste Management students sorting out trash


Recycleables arriving at the recycling facility in Albany
Recycleables arriving at the recycling facility in Albany