Campus celebrates Beautiful U Day

The U’s first recycling initiative began in 1984.

Carly Schramm

Bales of compacted recyclables towered over President Bob Bruininks as he kicked-off both the University of MinnesotaâÄôs 13th annual âÄúBeautiful U DayâÄù and Earth DayâÄôs 40th birthday celebration on Thursday morning in front of Northrop Auditorium. The 12 bales of assorted plastic bottles, weighing in at five tons, represent two days worth of recyclable material generated at the University. The University will receive about $1,200 for selling the bales, but if they were not recycled it would cost the about $270 in disposal costs, said director of the University recycling program Dana Donatucci. Thursday also marked the 26th year anniversary of the UniversityâÄôs recycling initiative. The recycling initiative began in 1984 and was a cutting-edge program that has served as a model for universities across the country to follow, University Services Vice President Kathleen OâÄôBrien said. Last year, nearly 40 percent of the UniversityâÄôs total amount of recyclable material was in fact recycled. This is about 3,600 tons of material. This yearâÄôs âÄúIt All Adds UpâÄù campaign, which Facilities Management put into action last year on Beautiful U Day, aims to recover an additional 5 percent of recyclables annually. Last yearâÄôs entire âÄúIt All Adds UpâÄù campaign reduced energy consumption by 5 percent and saved the University $2.25 million. âÄúWeâÄôre not only working to make the University of Minnesota greener, but more sustainable in terms of efficiency and effectiveness,âÄù Bruininks said. Increasing the recovery of recyclable items from 40 percent to 45 percent would save the University $50,000 annually and prevent 900 tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere, Bruininks said. âÄúThis is not only about celebrating Earth day, but about celebrating our mutual responsibility to reduce our energy footprint, engage in sustainable practices and really to protect the long-term future of the EarthâÄôs environment.âÄù Bruininks said. The University was one of the first Universities to join the Chicago Climate Exchange in 2004, and has continued to be a national leader in energy conservation. âÄúWeâÄôre a leader in recycling and we plan to upgrade our commitment,âÄù Bruininks said. However, the recycling goal is just a small part of the big plan. The UniversityâÄôs overall goal is to reduce its carbon footprint. âÄúCleaning up the environment, saving money âĦ it all adds up,âÄù Bruininks said.