New recycling plans underway

By Luis Aranda

Trash cans are prevalent on campus. Students are throwing away their trash, but sometimes that trash can be reused.

The Illini Union and Students for Environmental Concerns have had an open dialogue in recent weeks to establish a more comprehensive recycling program that includes a drop-off bin for used ink cartridges and batteries. In addition, the Illini Union already has public recycling bins for paper, plastic and cans, said Ed Slazinik, director of the Illini Union.

“Those bins are convenient and help students do a lot more with their trash,” said Ashley Peterson, president of the student environmental group and senior in ACES.

Recycled ink cartridges can be easily refilled and saves plastic resources, Peterson said.

The group is a registered organization that works to motivate students to recycle. It has worked with the University recycling efforts by organizing members to clean out academic buildings and haul recyclable material out of attics and basements.

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The University recycling program is also experimenting with a new project. By the end of the fiscal year the program hopes to have a pilot program established for a material drop-off campaign, Hoss said. If the program goes well, the pilot would be expanded and material drop-off sites would sprout up throughout the campus.

“We’ve seen continuous change to the program,” said Tim Hoss, recycling coordinator for the Department of Facilities and Services.

The University recycling program considers itself as one of the best among colleges and universities because it continues to evolve to meet the demands of students, Hoss said.

According to a recent waste reduction plan, the University recycles paper, cardboard, cans, plastic, scrap metals, landscape waste and various other materials, in addition to educating the use of recycled goods and educates efficient means of living.

The recycling program has saved the University $300,000 in landfill costs each year, Hoss said.

“Our program is very unique,” Hoss said because the recycling program does more than just collect – it also educates.

The materials gathered are sent to the University’s Waste Transfer System to be processed for shipment. The materials are sometimes used again for other purposes, like using grounded up landscape for campus projects or animal bedding as fertilizer.

The program also dedicates a lot of time promoting the benefits of recycling.

The Housing Recycling Office develops posters and flyers to inform students and staff on recycling methods. Other promotion methods include door hangers, newsletters and brochures.

“There’s always work to be done,” Hoss said.