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PSU works to keep construction debris out of the landfill - KOAM TV 7

PSU works to keep construction debris out of the landfill

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Student worker Landon Trotter, right, helps PSU employees Dennis Sellegren and Tonya Pentola secure a load of metal from the Mitchell Hall renovation project for recycling. Student worker Landon Trotter, right, helps PSU employees Dennis Sellegren and Tonya Pentola secure a load of metal from the Mitchell Hall renovation project for recycling.
PITTSBURG, KANSAS -

Tonya Pentola may get a thank you card from Mother Nature.

Pentola, who leads Pittsburg State University's recycling services, is working with contractors remodeling PSU's Mitchell residence hall to keep tens of thousands of pounds of construction refuse from going to the landfill. Since the work on Mitchell Hall began in May, Pentola and her crew have recycled nearly 28,000 pounds of metal, rescued pallets piled high with doors and diverted mounds of other recyclable materials from the trash bins.

“It feels good to look at a trailer stacked with material and know that it won't be taking up space for hundreds of years in a landfill,” Pentola said.

Under Pentola's leadership, the university began working with contractors engaged in campus renovation projects several years ago. With each project, Pentola said, the amount of material they have been able to recycle or repurpose has grown.

In May, J.E. Dunn began work on Mitchell Hall, the last of the residence halls to be remodeled as part of a multi-year project that has modernized every living space on campus.

“They really have gone above and beyond,” Pentola said of the contractor. “It's easier to just toss everything out, but they have been great to separate out the materials we can recycle or reuse.”

Pentola said some of the doors from the residence hall were donated to Habitat for Humanity or the Next to New shop. Others will be in the next university sale. Sinks and other bathroom fixtures may also make it to the sale.

Pentola said the university's success in recycling and reusing materials from renovation projects makes the extra effort required a little easier to sell to contractors.

“It's more work, but it's the right thing to do,” Pentola said.

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