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New UofL recycling effort keeps more waste out of landfills

by Denise Fitzpatrick last modified Jun 21, 2010 12:20 PM

 May 20, 2010           

            LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A single-stream recycling effort at the University of Louisville that began on a trial basis in February already has captured an extra 12 tons of material that otherwise would have gone to a landfill.


            UofL employees taking part in the effort are allowed to toss paper, cardboard, plastic, aluminum and glass into the same recycling bin. They’re asked to discard food waste, used tissues and other non-recyclable garbage into green recycled plastic “mini-bins” kept near their work stations.


            Custodians collect the recycled mix, which is sent to an off-site company that sorts and recycles the items. Employees empty their mini-bins into nearby cans marked “TRASH…This is all the garbage we make.”


            The system seems to be a hit with employees, says UofL recycling coordinator Aaron Boggs.


            “The program makes it much easier for people to recycle,” he said. “They don’t have to stop and think, ‘Now where am I supposed to put this aluminum can?’ They can just throw all of their recyclables in the same bin and someone comes to take it away.”


            So far, UofL has supplied around 1,500 mini-bins to employees in 34 buildings on Belknap Campus. The university plans to extend the program to all campus buildings by the end of the year.


            “We’d like to have a full year under our belt before we do a thorough evaluation, but the initial numbers show that it seems to be working,” Boggs said.


            Last year, UofL diverted nearly 45 percent of its waste from landfills—a figure that would have been higher had it not been for items thrown away due to damage from the Aug. 4 flood.


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