UI reduces, reuses, recycles its way to Earth Day


Monique Settles, center, a driver for the campus Waste Management program, watches with a co-worker as her truck of recycled paper is unloaded at the Material Recovery Facility on Tuesday, April 14, 2009.

By Mary Beth Versaci

Students for Environmental Concerns, Registered Student Organization at the University, are dedicated to spreading the word about taking care of the environment, said Amanda Schield, president of the organization and senior in LAS.

“Our main goal is to reach out to the campus community and the Champaign-Urbana community as much as possible,” she said. “We let them know how they can get involved.”

Members focus on many different aspects of environmental care, including composting and vegetarianism, she added. They also run a battery recycling program in the Illini Union that allows students to drop off their old batteries, which the organization collects and recycles weekly. The organization led a similar program, which recycled Ink Jet print cartridges, but that company has since gone out of business.

Other than these two programs, Students for Environmental Concerns is not involved with recycling on campus, but Schield said she thinks the University waste management program uses its resources well.

“It’s pretty efficient as far as I know, but I wish there was more visibility with recycling,” she said. “Students should be making a conscious effort to put their stuff into a recycling bin.”

Cleaning up campus

University Waste Management Service

University garbage and recycling is collected six days per week, excluding Saturdays. About 95 percent of waste is collected during the week and one driver works for three hours on Sundays. However, waste is collected more often during football game and move-in weekends, said Tim Hoss, coordinator of campus waste management. According to Facilities and Services, there are about 250 recycling dumpsters on campus, usually located near waste disposal dumpsters. The University also has thousands of recycling bins in offices, hallways and residence halls.

Where the garbage goes

University garbage goes to the landfill located in Clinton, Ill., Hoss said. According to 2004 fiscal year disposal records, 59 percent of waste was put in landfills when the University used the Brickyard Landfill located in Danville. Most landfills charge by volume, and in 2008 fiscal year, the University avoided about $200,000 in landfill costs through its recycling efforts.

Where the recycling goes

A majority of University recycling occurs at the Waste Transfer Station. While the station does not receive a lot of landscaping waste, about 95 percent of all other recyclable waste comes to the center. This includes material such as office paper, cardboard, scrap metal, aluminum cans and plastic, Hoss said. The station operates two trucks running daily paper collection routes and one truck running a cardboard route twice daily, according to Facilities and Services. Once recyclable goods are sorted at the station’s lower level, they are then collected and loaded onto semi-trucks, which ship the materials to mills. The station sends about 200 semi-truck loads per year to the mills, Hoss said.