Illini Union installs new recycling bins


Mark Capapas

New recycling bins have been installed throughout the halls of the Illini Union. Professor Don Fullerton received a grant to fund research on different green materials.

By Kimberly Belser, Staff Writer

New recycling bins have been added to the Illini Union in an effort to encourage recycling within the building and around campus.

Thirteen bins have been added to the building, including six bins placed outdoors and seven inside of the Illini Union. These receptacles address the growing need for recycling units around the facility, said David Guth, interim senior associate director of operations for the Illini Union, in an email.

The new units have been positioned with the intent of reducing the extent of waste and deflecting recyclable products from being deposited into landfills. They are designated to separate landfill waste from recyclable materials and to serve as replacements for the old units that have outlived their serviceable life, Guth said.

“Utilizing a 2015 waste audit of the Illini Union and diversion rates associated with the proposed recycling pods, we estimated the associated environmental impacts of this project,” Guth said. “On an annual basis, approximately 15,000 pounds of recyclables will be diverted from the landfill. This is the equivalent of reducing 21.6 metric tons of (carbon dioxide) a year.”

The recycling bins will also contribute to the Illinois Climate Action Plan goal, a “roadmap” of suitable initiatives taken to ensure an environmentally friendly future for the University, according to the Illinois Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment.

The new bins are in accordance with the objectives of chapter 6.1 and 6.2 of the iCAP goal, which, according to iSEE’s 2015 Illinois Climate Action Plan document, aims to apply environmental standards to product purchases, reduce the amount of municipal solid waste in landfills by decreasing the amount of nonreusable goods purchased and reuse and recycle materials within two years. The installment contributes to the effort currently being implemented to make the University a carbon-neutral campus by 2050.

“This project increases environmental stewardship by providing the campus community an opportunity to actively participate in eco-friendly behaviors,” Guth said. “Individuals that encounter the option to responsibly dispose of bottles, cans (and) paper are likely to question their personal habits.”

The Illini Union seeks to add ten additional recycling bins for a total of 26 bins, replacing the older receptacles located on the second and fourth floors. All of the recycling units will be ordered solely for the building.

“Recycling is a very easy choice that fosters future environmental stewardship,” Guth said. “By encouraging this type of conscious behavior, it is likely that individuals will recycle in the future.”

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