Off-campus students fight to recycle

Some off-campus options for recycling are limited, but are working to be improved.

Recycling is a big part of keeping the environment clean. But recycling options for off-campus housing are sometimes lacking.

Some fed up students have started to take action and fight for recycling rights.

Take for instance Kevin Kane, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences. He organized his building, the Westridge Apartments at 2301 W. Michigan St., managed by Schulhof Property Management LLC, to campaign for better recycling options.

“I was sick of waiting for my landlord to follow through on his promise,” Kane said. “The lease said he would cover recycling. Well, we hadn’t had it in five months after moving in, so I started doing something about it.”

Even without proper recycling available through his landlord, Kane decided to tie up his recyclables and haul them over to a recycling center. Because the center was located inconveniently farther away, he used a neighboring apartment building’s recycling bins.

That was until the other landlord caught Kane and chased him away hollering about costing the landlord extra money, according to Kane.

“I tried a number of ways to deal with it,” Kane said. “I continued to (try to) get my landlord to provide recycling. They told me it was too expensive.”

After contacting the Milwaukee Department of Public Works, Kane found Wisconsin law mandates that available recycling options be provided in apartment buildings. Kane gathered support from his fellow building residents and provided a petition to his landlord demanding recycling be available, or the building would file a complaint.

“We were all together on this,” Kane said. “Then, we came home one day to find a new recycling bin.”

Schulhof Property Management and a Schulhof property manager declined comment on the incident.

Stacie Dooley, associate dean of Residence Life for University Apartments & Off Campus Student Services, said Marquette Student Government actively campaigned to create better recycling options.

She said starting last fall, the university introduced single-stream recycling for both the university apartments and dormitories.

Single-stream recycling means all recyclables can be placed in one container, according to Mike Whittow, assistant to the vice president and sustainability officer.

“(Single-stream recycling) is now mandatory and something we really wanted to have,” Whittow said. “It makes recycling much easier since recycling is incredibly important.”

Whittow also said the Marquette Sustainability Task Force and MUSG are pushing to raise awareness for off-campus recycling.

Many off-campus housing landlords maintain that their recycling options are viable. Those available for comment, including Schulhof and Key Management Inc., said recycling containers are outside and readily available for tenants.

The level of recycling done by tenants, however, was not something most landlords had a sense of.

Matt Schoenfelder, manager of the St. James Court apartments, whose parent company is Hennessey Group, said his tenants are provided easily accessible recycling options that are often used.

“We have recycling that we promise in the rules and regulations that each tenant goes over,” Schoenfelder said. “Thankfully, we have recycling-conscious tenants who do their best and know how to be efficient recyclers.”