The first recycling program at Southern Illinois University was implemented in 1977. Called "Reuse News," the program employed students and volunteers to collect newspaper on campus. In 1986, this program was suspended because of poor markets.
In 1990, recycling efforts were begun again by the Pollution Control office, which in 1992 became the Center for Environmental Health and Safety (CEHS). At that time, the program was operated by students, who collected white, computer, and newspaper with a pick-up truck from approximately 250 offices on campus. The program was understaffed and underequipped to carry out a comprehensive recycling effort on campus.
SIU's current recycling efforts are in response to the Illinois Solid Waste Management Act (415ILCS 20/1 et seq.), enacted in 1990. This act mandated that all state run universities develop recycling plans by January 1, 1995. The original plan outlined how the University intended to meet a mandatory 40% reduction in solid waste by the year 2000.