Students make recycling possible in Champaign

By Emily Bardales

A Campustown recycling program that was set to begin this fall has been postponed to the spring, but students continue to do what they can on their own to recycle.

The city of Champaign had been planning to implement a new recycling program in the University District, but those involved are waiting to hear back about a Coca-Cola recycling grant that the University applied for.

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The city has allocated $2,000 to purchase and pick up recycling containers in the Campustown area, said Patti Anderson, management analyst for public works. However, officials are waiting to move forward with the plan until the University receives information about the grant.

Steve Smith of ABC Recycling has offered to pick up recycling for six months, free of charge and is allowing the use of their containers for the project.

CORE, acronym for Community Organized Recycling Efforts, facilitates recycling and environmental projects and serves as a liaison for anyone with similar goals.

When it comes to campus recycling, Cassie Carroll and Mara Eisenstein, alumnae, and Anthony Santarelli, junior in ACES, are the leaders of CORE. The group recently helped Jacob Shulkin, senior in Engineering, accomplish his goal of offering the option of recycling to the residents of Illini Towers.

“I contacted Cassie Carroll for information on resources on how to start a recycling program and she gave me a detailed list,” Shulkin said. “I made several calls and made a deal with Community Resource, a local recycling hauler.”

Illini Towers now has recycling bins in each garbage room where the residents take their garbage to throw down the chute. There are bins for aluminum, paper and plastic.

“Once a week, when the garbage rooms on each floor are locked for the night, the garbage dumpsters at the bottom of the chute were replaced with a ‘green garbage’ dumpster and an RA throws the collected recycled items down the chute of each trash room,” Shulkin said.

Illini Tower also offers ink cartridge recycling, and the Illini Union offers battery recycling as well as ink cartridge, aluminum, paper and plastic recycling.

“Hopefully this will inspire the community to embrace in such efforts and realize the resources available,” Shulkin said.

The members of CORE had their first recycling project at a football tailgate Nov. 15 during the Ohio State game where they distributed recycling bags around the stadium.

“I think it’d be great to have a city-wide pilot recycling program,” Eisenstein said.

While Urbana has a U-Cycle program that has been intact since 1986, Champaign residents must seek out recycling haulers independently.

“People are hesitant and lazy to call up their own hauler, so it doesn’t get done,” Eisenstein said. “As for students, it is virtually impossible in some instances.”

While the city of Champaign does have a 24-hour recycling drop-off site at 1701 Hagan Drive, haulers are only required to provide services to single family homes and four unit apartments, leaving residents of larger apartment buildings with no recycling options.