Recycling efforts continue growing

By Joseph Altman Jr.

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The UA Recycling Office has announced that they are now handling deer in their recycling bins.

Although the Recycling Office is able to recycle many materials, a dead deer apparently wasn't one of them. In 1993, someone dumped the deer in one of the blue recycling barrels around campus.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department investigated and sent the 5-ton load of paper to the recycler without the deer.

Since then, events in the recycling office have been less eventful, but Sharon Aller, director of the University of Arizona Recycling Office, is still excited about the rapid growth of the UA's recycling program.

Aller said recycling is becoming more economically viable for the university. Last month, recycling income totalled $5,000, compared to only $500 in January 1994.

One thing that is important to ensure a high income level, however, is eliminating the contaminants (things that can't be recycled) from the bins of material that are sent for recycling.

Aller said it is okay to have a certain percentage up to 5 percent of prohibited substances in a recycling bin for white paper.

Prohibited substances could include newspaper, colored paper, napkins, cardboard and food wrappers, although other odd objects can occasionally be found.

Exceeding the limit of contaminants means the recycling plant will downgrade the received paper from "white ledger" to "mixed office waste." Aller said this is significant, because the UA receives $260 per ton for white ledger and only $5 per ton for mixed office waste.

She said papers with many labels or envelopes with windows will not recycle. Also, white lunch bags like those from McDonald's are not considered "white paper."

UA offices, though, have been very good about keeping their paper "clean," Aller said.

"Our recycling vendor said our paper is looking very good, but some people don't understand, and other people are just a little careless," she said. "But there aren't too many banana peels (in the bins)."

As the amount of income from recycling increases, the recycling office is continuing to expand, and hopes to do even more in the future, Aller said. Recently, the office purchased a baler that allows cardboard to be prepared for recycling on campus. Previously, the baling was done elsewhere and the office rented a compactor. After purchasing the baler, the recycling center gets $95 per ton of cardboard, compared to $20 per ton previously.

Additionally, the new baler will allow more of the cardboard on campus to be recycled. Currently, 22 percent of the cardboard that comes onto campus is recycled. With the new baler, the recycling office expects that number to increase significantly, according to The Conservation Gazette, the recycling center's newsletter.

Now that the recycling center is increasing its productivity, Aller is working on a plan to turn the UA into a "green campus." At the Campus Earth Summit held at Yale University in Feb. 1994, a program was designed with recommendations for improving campuses environmentally.

That program, in a 42-page report titled "Blueprint for a Green Campus," is being analyzed and discussed by a group of faculty, staff and students.

That group's goal, Aller said, is to meet some of the plan's goals without creating a burden for the campus.

"(The group) is in the initial stages of how to make an impact without alienating everybody to think we're the environmental police," she said.

Included in the list of goals is improving undergraduate environmental studies course offerings, conducting a campus environmental audit, instituting environmentally responsible purchasing policies and establishing a student environmental center.

Aller said the UA is on the right track by hiring a full-time recycling director while many schools only have student volunteers, but a lot of work is forthcoming to make the UA "greener."

"We're just in the initial stages right now," she said.

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