UNCW Recycling Center is expanding and looking to campus community to utilize their program
Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 13:04
How many UNCW students think themselves criminals? Not many is my guess, but in fact, being ignorant of the law does not, by rule of law, justify breaking it. I for one have been guilty in the past. Are you aware that throwing away plastic bottles, aluminum cans and e-waste (anything with an electric cord) is a crime in the city of Wilmington?
Yes, folks, it’s against the law to throw away that plastic water bottle you just sucked down on your way out of the gym. So when that hair straightener quits or your phone charger craps out, most people go straight to the trash and dump it. It has become our nature to dispose of everything in the garbage. You don’t think about it. We’re accustomed to throwing things away when they don’t work anymore. Who thinks of multiple uses for an item when they buy it? Not many. Oftentimes you buy an item for one purpose of function alone.
You can imagine my surprise when in the course of my day and on the quest of enlightenment, I came across the Recycling Center at the back of campus. It was here where one extremely hard working Kathleen Miller along with Steve Swart and Stanley Edwards cured me of my ignorance. The recycling center does not get the recognition it deserves. I came away from this interview with not only a ton of statistical and environmental awareness, but some guilt for my habitual non-recycling ways. Their dedication to improving the education and recognition of the UNCW recycling center is inspiring.
Prior to the current recycling program, the university paid to have recycling compiled by contractors. Under the new program started this January, UNCW is taking the responsibility of sorting recycling into its own hands. Instead of paying to have items recycled, UNCW will now sort items and get paid for it.
As a result, the amount of trash will be reduced, which means less fees for dumping in landfills, saving the university money. Moreover, a couple of big recycling moneymakers are cardboard and aluminum. Cardboard brings in the most revenue. On move-in weekend alone UNCW acquired 7 1/2 to 8 tons of cardboard! Recycling all that cardboard is a huge success for the Recycling center.
Furthermore, in January the e-waste program began and now the trouble is getting the word out. Anything with a cord is 99% recyclable –– amazing, isn’t it? I could bore you endlessly with figures and statistics like how all of the vegetable oil used in UNCW dining halls is recycled, given to companies and individuals with diesel converted vehicles and engines, or that 1,320 pounds a month of used coffee grinds is distributed to local farms for composting and fertilizer.
During these times of budget cuts, tuition hikes and never-ending financial belt tightening, these three individuals are working hard to increase revenue, make UNCW more environmentally aware, as well as improve the university’s reputation as a whole. They need our help. We need to change our mindset and realize the impact we have is huge. It is time to stop making excuses that housekeeping doesn’t empty the containers often enough or I’m too exhausted to pull the tape off my box and fold it down. Old habits die hard and now is the time to get rid of them.
These individuals at the recycling center have a vision, a vision of being more sustainable, making enough money to run their own program independently, creating more jobs, buying more equipment for sorting, having their own property, and serving not only the campus but the community as well. It is up to us to be a part of a better university and a better community of law-abiding citizens. Stop by the recycling center at the intersection of Lionfish and Plyler Drive. Don’t forget to break down your boxes.