America Recycles - Baylor Recycling Expert Offers Four Tips to Lead a More Sustainable Life

  • Recycling graphic
    Courtesy Baylor Sustainability
  • Smith Getterman
    Smith Getterman is director of sustainability and special projects at Baylor University.
Nov. 14, 2017

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WACO, Texas (Nov. 14, 2017) – For the past 30 years, Americans have focused on improving the country’s recycling rate, which is now up to 30 percent. But what should individuals and families know about recycling and leading a more sustainable life?

Smith Getterman, director of sustainability and special projects at Baylor University, offers four tips about upping your recycling game as part of America Recycles Day on Nov. 15. The program, led by Keep America Beautiful, is dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States.

Recycling Tips

1. Is this item recyclable? When in doubt, throw it out! “It’s better NOT to contaminate the good recycling with questionable items; so if you’re not sure what your city can take, check their solid waste services website or toss it in the waste bin,” Getterman said.

2. Whatever you do choose to recycle, make sure it’s empty. “Liquids and food residue will ruin otherwise good recycling, so make sure your cups, bottles, cans, etc., are empty before placing them in the recycling bin,” Getterman said.

3. You can probably recycle more than you are. If it’s cardboard or paper, recycle it. “Most cities can take all plastics except medical grade, so be sure you’re taking advantage of all you can recycle,” Getterman advised.

4. Think before you buy. Recycling is great, but ultimately it’s just a Band-Aid to the larger problem of over consumption, Getterman said. “If we are to truly engage in judicious stewardship of our resources, we need to think before we buy. Showing love to our neighbor through conscious consumerism is a great way to reflect the glory of God in the way we live our daily lives,” he said.

Baylor's sustainability practices

Baylor University’s ongoing commitment to sustainability includes a campus-wide focus on recycling, with the University now diverting from the landfill more than a quarter (25.2 percent) of its waste. Baylor was recently honored for its campus sustainability practices, when the University was named for the fourth time to the 2017 “Cool Schools” list by SIERRA magazine.

For example, Getterman notes that Baylor:

• Offers recycling in every Baylor owned and operated building, including all athletics facilities, as well as the Louise Herrington School of Nursing in Dallas and EMBA program in Austin.

• Recycles everything, from lightbulbs to mattresses, working with partners locally, at the state level and nationally to recycle as much as the University possibly can.

• Recycles about 10 times the amount of material at McLane Stadium compared to what Baylor recycled at Floyd Casey Stadium.

• Makes recycling dumpsters available to all of the campus community, with Baylor’s student body making full use of them by bringing their recycling from off campus to campus to make sure it’s taken care of properly.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

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