Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Recognizing Outstanding Recyclers on Campus


While most employees at UIC are participating in the recycling program, there are still people out there who don’t want to or don’t know why it’s important to recycle.  We can all choose to see recycling as an inconvenience, or it can be viewed as a vital part of our efforts to repair the world - before it’s too late.
There are many different approaches, but UIC is making commitments to increase the amount we recycle. For example, we have decided to take the RePaper Challenge and recycle 75% of all paper.
During the waste audits to prepare for the RePaper Challenge, we discovered one building was head-and-shoulders above the others we sampled:  University Hall. We realized that University Hall is a shining example of how the faculty, students and staff, including building service workers (BSWs), can come together to greatly improve a building’s recycling performance, and decided it was important to highlight this building’s successes.
University Hall is typical of the office buildings on campus in that it has the full recycling program in place.  “Full” means office occupants get desk side recycling bins and then separate their own recyclables and trash in hallway recycling stations.  BSWs take over from there, moving as much as five tons a month of paper and cardboard to larger centrally-located storage areas, and making sure the material is sorted and ready for recycling truck drivers to carry to off-campus recycling facilities. Although about 6 out of 10 buildings on campus have this system in place, we’re recognizing UH because we tested them and they passed with flying colors, scoring a paper recovery rate of over 70%!
Keep an eye out for this certificate of appreciation: 
We’ll post copies in the offices of the English Department, the School of Literatures, Cultural Studies and Linguistics, and in the College of Business.  We’ll also provide individual certificates to group of employees who had the biggest part to play, the Building Operations staff.
A big thank you goes out to UH supervisors Melva Malone & Gail Hampton-Mosley, and Building Service Workers (BSWs) Jesus Ayala, Rita Corona, Susie Edwards, Wilhelmina Franklin, John Gregory, Tony Rhodes, James Taylor, and Theresa Zamora for all the work they do to keep the building in order.
Along with the certificates of appreciation, we have candy. Jars of candy will be given to the BSWs and a big bag will be available for office staff in the three offices listed.  We tried to use candy made locally, such as Tootsie Rolls, since locally produced items have less distance to travel to get to campus (therefore reducing associated carbon emissions) and supports our local economy.  Also, the jars holding the candy were re-used!
As we continue to monitor recycling progress in buildings on campus, we hope to be able to recognize more students, faculty and staff in many of the other buildings on campus in the next year. If you know of someone that does an outstanding job of recycling on campus, let us know by sending a message to sustainability@uic.edu.

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