Champaign organizes recycling event

By Fatima Farha

The city of Champaign’s Neighborhood Services, teamed with the Champaign Public Works Department, is holding its “Feed The Thing” program during move-in for University students to ensure cleanliness and environmentally-friendly practices as students unpack their belongings.

Nichole Millage, member of Public Works, said “Feed The Thing” is a multi-family recycling program for any building with five units or more, such as Greek houses, group houses, apartments and residence halls. She said the program gives the residents of these units an opportunity to recycle items such as cardboard, furniture and clothes.

“So what we’re trying to accomplish through these efforts is number one, reduce the amount of overflowing dumpsters, and at the same time, recapturing those items that can either be reused or recycled,” said David Oliver, code compliance manager.

The first event held by the “Feed The Thing” program took place Aug. 7-8 to collect recyclable items, such as furniture pieces, to donate to Habitat for Humanity’s Champaign chapter.

Jessica Miller, Public Works intern and senior in ACES, said the event produced useful results but was not as successful as previous years.

For the second event, during the week of Aug. 14 to Aug. 24, Miller said “Feed The Thing” put out large dumpsters for their cardboard recycling event to collect cardboard as students moved into campus.

This event focuses on getting the cardboard out of regular trash bins and into dumpsters for them to be recycled and reused.

While there were blue “Feed The Thing” carts available to people to dispose of their cardboard and other waste such as glass, plastic and plastic bags, Miller said regular, green dumpsters were put out specifically for cardboard since it takes up a lot more space.

“We do want to divert this cardboard, this good, recyclable cardboard from going into regular landfills, and also once it gets into regular garbage cans, it could become foiled with food debris, and then it’s no good,” Miller said. “So we definitely want to try and keep it out of the trash can and have a spot for it where it can be properly disposed of and recycled.”

Since “Feed The Thing” was started, Miller said it has diverted around 7 million pounds of waste. The sole purpose, she said, is to divert cardboard, being such a large source of solid waste, from the waste streams and deposit it somewhere it will be useful.

Along with the “Feed The Thing” program, Oliver said, the Neighborhood Code Compliance services also performed maintenance inspections from Aug. 17 to Aug. 24, where they checked for overflowing dumpsters around apartments.

He said the inspectors notified property owners or the property management responsible for the apartment if their dumpsters were overflowing with a 24-hour notice to clean up around the dumpster. If there was no compliance, the city sent services to clean up the dumpsters for them, but the apartment complex would have to cover the costs.

“A clean city, a clean campus is certainly the image that we want to project to anyone who is visiting Champaign-Urbana, and everyone has a responsibility for their personal behaviors,” Oliver said. “I think we all have the same goal: We all want a clean environment.”

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