U launches new campus recycling initiative

Courtney Lewis

Although the University produces 7,800 tons of waste annually, it recycles only 250 tons. Dana Donatucci, director of the Recycling Center, hopes the center’s latest initiative will change that.

Originally started in August 2000, the recycling program will soon have changed all “newspaper only” container lids to “newspaper plus.”

Magazines, hardcover books, phone books, class schedules and guides, softcover books and blue and green computer paper may be placed in these containers.

Donatucci said he hopes replacing the 4,000 lids on campus will increase the number of items being recycled without increasing the number of bins on campus.

“Every time we don’t throw away one ton of trash, it saves the University $52,” Donatucci said.

Ten thousand dollars was allocated for the year and a half project. Donatucci said additional costs for the program were covered within the first year.

If the market for recycling improves, Donatucci said, this program would not only pay for itself but also bring in a small amount of revenue.

Melissa Wenzel, a recent graduate of the natural resource department, has been a student recycling coordinator at the center since August 2000.

After her graduation in December, Wenzel said, she’s had more time to devote to the Newspaper Plus project.

“I hope with this new program, recycling will go up,” Wenzel said.

Wenzel said there have been some people who haven’t seemed to care about the new lids, but she
hasn’t experienced much opposition.

Donatucci said hiring new employees to sort the materials collected by the bins wouldn’t be necessary.

“It slows us down a little, but not sufficiently enough that we have to hire additional staff,” Donatucci said about the sorting process.

He also said the project carries greater benefits that might not be obvious.

“There are external benefits that the University doesn’t necessarily see but the planet sees,” Donatucci said.

Wenzel said she hopes students will feel more compelled to recycle with this new program. She said the convenience should be an added incentive.

“Students will see they are a part of the changes by recycling,” Wenzel said. “It’s good to see that.”

The project should be completed by the end of the semester, Donatucci said.

Courtney Lewis welcomes comments at [email protected]