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A Round Up on Recycling: Each Year, UC Recycles by the Ton

Throughout the year, UC sponsors both ongoing recycling efforts as well as special events related to recycling. For instance, at last year’s home football games, UC volunteers recycled 5.4 tons of plastic, metal, glass and cardboard. Overall last year, UC recycled more than 3,700 tons of material.

Date: 4/19/2010 12:00:00 AM
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Dottie Stover

UC ingot   Recycling of materials at the University of Cincinnati has increased several times over since 1996. In that year, UC recycled 559 tons of material. In 2009, UC recycled 3,747 tons of materials. The materials commonly recycled include paper and cardboard as well as plastics, metal and glass products, along with tires, oil, batteries, electronics, carpet and more.

These recycling efforts have significantly reduced the amount of materials UC sends to local landfills. A waste-disposal audit by Rumpke Consolidated Companies, Inc., shows that from the year 2000 to 2005, UC reduced its landfill use by 35 percent. From 2005 to 2008, that landfill use fell an additional 33 percent, according to Rick Wiggins, director of UC facilities management.
Calhoun Hall's Steve Platz
Business student Steve Platz, a resident of Calhoun Hall, puts collected recyclables into one of the bins located in the hall.

Recycling activities are ongoing throughout the year at UC, with 290 recycling containers in 64 locations on campus as well as recycling efforts in most offices and units. The recycling efforts are completed thanks to UC Facilities Management and the UC-PACES committee, which includes faculty, students and staff. (PACES stands for the President’s Advisory Council on Environment & Sustainability.)

Special-event recycling also takes place throughout the year, much of it completed by volunteers led by Shawn Tubb, UC sustainability coordinator. Below are examples of these efforts:

Bearcat Recycling at Home Football Games

During the 2009 Bearcat football season, University of Cincinnati students volunteered at the six home games to recycle a total of 5.4 tons of plastic, metal, glass and cardboard.

Plans are underway to expand this Bearcat Recycling effort to the basketball games, concerts, graduation and other large events on campus.

“Operation Move-In” Recycling
The beginning of each academic year brings a heavy stream of cardboard boxes and other packing-related materials to the UC campus. So, each fall, UC student and staff volunteers fill three 90-foot long dumpsters with cardboard materials. The program has been in effect for three years and has reduced move-in waste by 93 percent. During move-in fall 2009, UC students recycled a total of about three tons of materials.
Vishnu Suresh
Engineering student Vishnu Suresh, a front desk worker in Calhoun Hall, places recyclables collected from two floors into an outside bin.

Residence Hall Recycling
UC currently has recycling pilot programs underway in Calhoun and Daniels residence halls. It’s expected that these bins will be available in all UC residence halls come the start of classes in fall 2010.

Previously, in the residence halls, UC held competitions between the halls to see which could save the most energy and water and recycle the most materials. Those previous competitions resulted in about 11 tons of recycled materials each year.

Re-Use Market
At the end of each spring quarter, UC students moving out of the residence halls and local housing hold a re-use free market to recycle and provide no-longer-needed furniture, clothing, electronics and  household items to fellow students and members of the community. Items not selected for “adoption” by those attending the Re-Use Market are given to local charities. The next Re-Use Market will run for a week in June 2010.