Monday, October 4, 2010

DePaul Wastes No Time

Every human being impacts the environment through simple practices that we may or may not realize is harmful. Though the effects themselves may seem minute or insignificant, the cumulative effects of wasteful habits add up to a significant factor in global warming. DePaul University has taken huge strides to emphasize the development of new sources that will reduce our carbon footprint. DePaul has been actively involved in recycling for more than 25 years.
DePaul has adopted new innovated way to separate recyclables from waste.

This "Single Stream" Recycle Program serves to recycle all office paper, newspapers, catalogs, magazines and discarded mail. Items are collected in the over one hundred recycle stations that are located throughout the various building hallways on campus are collected every Monday and Thursday of each week, or as needed, and it is placed in ABITIBI bins located in various locations on campus. ABITIBI-Bowater (one of the largest recyclers of paper materials in North America) empties the bins each week. This current practice engages a combination of recycling directly from containers placed across the campuses for the community to "clean sort" product into...and vendor "in-plant" sorting or extraction of certain recyclable products (i.e. plastics, aluminum & glass) out of the general waste stream. As a result, according to Allied Waste, the 2009 DePaul Lincoln Park campus recycling program saved:12,611 Trees,3,043,069 KW Electricity,281,093 Gallons of oil,5,192,950 Gallons of water,2,226 Yards Diverted from Landfills.

DePaul also handle other environmental outreach efforts to reduce our carbon footprint. For example, DePaul University has partnered with the department of Environmental of Health and Safety (EHS) to establish the “Battery Recycling Program”. This partnership allows DePaul students to dispose rechargeable batteries, used cell phones, and alkaline batteries at six different locations throughout the campus. This program is aimed to teach students that less is more and we can make a big difference in the amount of waste that’s generated by using less energy and fewer materials.

The combined results have DePaul recycling an average of 70 to 80 tons of materials on a monthly basis. This does not include the quantity of cardboard product that the food service provider recycles on a bi-weekly basis. According to the U.S Department of Energy, it estimates that newspapers from recycled paper save 40 percent of the energy, plastics from recycled plastic save 70 percent of the energy, and a ton of paper made from recycled paper saves 17 trees. In addition, the aluminum and steel from recycled cell phones and batteries saves 95 and 60 percent of the energy consumption respectively.

In the same way, DePaul recycled product are also being utilized during construction and remodeling projects in the form of recycled plastics toilet partitions and other specialty finish elements which accounts for 90 percent of recycled items.

DePaul strives to improve and educate the campus community by installing more recycling containers on campus and are partnering with Student Government and Environmental Sciences to help promote better recycling efforts by the students and faculty members. Continued success in this area will result in marked increase in the tonnage of goods recycled on campus and increase student participation.

Posted by: Sabrina Purdis
Photo Credits: DePaul University

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