CORE group aims to improve Champaign recycling system

Co-Directors Cassie Carroll, senior in ACES, center left, and graduate student Aaron Pollack, center right, speak with members of the Community Organized Recycling Effort in the basement of the YMCA. Erica Magda

Co-Directors Cassie Carroll, senior in ACES, center left, and graduate student Aaron Pollack, center right, speak with members of the Community Organized Recycling Effort in the basement of the YMCA. Erica Magda

By Ebonique Wool

The student organization Community Organized Recycling Efforts, or CORE, believes recycling takes conscious effort, though it does not have to be difficult.

The group has taken on the challenge of improving recycling in the city of Champaign, which is more privatized than Urbana.

“The next door neighbor can have a different company than you,” said Cassie Carroll, senior in ACES and a coordinator of the organization. “We want to start in the student community and make it strong within us and then spread it to the Champaign community.”

The goal of the group is to get many people involved in the recycling program so as to make an impact on the way recycling programs are handled in the community.

The city of Champaign does provide a free, 24-hour recycling drop-off site at 1701 Hagan Drive.

This can still be inconvenient for students though, Carroll said, because many do not have transportation to get to this or other sites on campus.

“As a resident of Champaign, it’s something I find frustrating,” said Abby Toms, sophomore in LAS and group member.

Urbana has a more user-friendly system in that it is more uniform in its service to the community, and it is paid for by taxes.

“Urbana has a mandated city tax, and they have a service that comes to pick up the recyclables,” said Aaron Pollack, graduate student and a coordinator of the organization.

The Urbana program is called U-CYCLE and costs $2.50 a month per household in residential areas and a curbside collection is made once a week.

“It can’t be a chore,” Pollack said. “People have to want to do it. We want people to see it as important.”

This is the first year the students have operated as a group, though they are not an official Registered Student Organization.

The idea was initially introduced in a Students for Environmental Concerns meeting last fall, but it took the spring semester and summer to develop into an organized body.

“If we had a slogan for the group, it should say, ‘We can’t do this by ourselves,'” Pollack said. “It’s more than just environmentalists.”

The group needs all types of people, he said.

The organization is also reaching out to different groups on campus to ask them to make the conscious effort to recycle.

“One of our plans is a Greek project to incorporate several Greek houses into a recycling competition,” said Mara Eisenstein, senior in ACES and group member.

The goal is to raise participation in Greek groups and to create a position in the house that will coordinate recycling for the group,” said Carroll.

“We want to show students that they can do something about (recycling), and show that you have a large group of people standing behind you, and you’re not standing alone,” Toms said.