Officials hoard recycled materials on campus

By Farris Willingham, Editor-in-Chief

Recycled goods have accumulated in a fenced-in holding area within the facilities department since the beginning of November.

The increase of stored recycled products resulted from issues with the university’s recycling partner, said Jeff Castleberry, director of facilities.

“We had a company that would come and pick up the cardboard, plastic and paper,” he said. “We couldn’t get a response from the company.”

Someone contacted university officials at the beginning of December to inform them that the company went bankrupt in November, Castleberry said.

“We’re taking more ownership on what’s best for the university,” he said.

Officials are researching stock market prices to determine where the university can profit the most from depositing recycled goods, instead of relying on another company.

“We’ve found out that all this cardboard, aluminum – it’s all commodities and trade-ins at the stock markets,” he said. “The prices fluctuate.”

Kevin Thornburg, recycling coordinator and lead deferred maintenance technician, will check prices at different recycling companies weekly.

“The current market price for cardboard is $180 per ton,” he said.

It was difficult relying on another company to handle most aspects of the recycling process, Castleberry said.

“It’s hard for us to function when we have these recycled goods stuck everywhere,” he said.

The recycling program originated in 2008 from Blue Goes Green, a Sustainability team led by staff and student volunteers.

The team is inactive, said Chelsea Ewald, administrative assistant to the vice president for student affairs.

“We’re in a holding pattern,” she said. “Not a lot is happening.

“Most of our force has gotten pretty busy with our jobs, which is really too bad.”

“Eco-Week,” which took place in October 2010, was the last major event that Blue Goes Green hosted.

Facility officials want to get this green initiative going again, Castleberry said.

“This semester we’re trying to rejuvenate the recycling program,” he said.

They’re looking for students to aid in gathering recycled goods from campus recycling receptacles, Castleberry said.

Andrew Wasson, history/political science freshman, said he is willing to get involved.

“I haven’t really gotten to recycle before because I live in a small town where they threw away everything,” he said. “It’s great that I have the opportunity to recycle here.”

Thornburg and his crew will bring the recycled products to the facilities department, Castleberry said.

They also want to promote more effective forms of recycling,  he said. Shredded paper is one example.

“A lot of people are emptying the shredded bits into the recycling box,” Castleberry said. “This makes the process difficult.”

Usually people put a plastic liner in a shredder, he said.

“Grab that bag, tie it up, and throw it into the paper recycling receptacle,” Castleberry said.

This could ease the sorting process, he said.

“That’s a tremendous help because it cuts down a lot of labor,” Castleberry said.

Visit http://www.okcu.edu/bluegoesgreen/recycle.aspx for a link to a map of recycle locations on campus.

 

 

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