Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Recycling program to launch Aug. 1

Moving rapidly, the University of Denver will be rolling out its campus-wide recycling program Aug. 1 in a massive quest to slash the University’s carbon footprint and the amount of waste DU sends off to landfills and incinerators.

Custodial Services Director Alfredo Abad unveiled the full plan July 16 to more than 40 representatives of University buildings and departments, setting ambitious goals and calling for campus-wide cooperation.

“If this is going to work, it’s going to take everybody,” he told the crowd. “We’ve got to do this together.”

Abad says the program aims to reduce waste by 50 percent, sending about 50 tons a month of bottles, paper and metals to recycling centers instead of the trash heap. Recycling bins will even be spread throughout Magness Arena for sporting events and shows.

The plan was devised with Daniels College of Business master’s degree candidate Charlie Coggeshall, a member of the University’s new Sustainability Council. The council formed last year as part of Chancellor Robert Coombe’s commitment to climate protection and sustainability.

By Aug. 1, Abad’s crews will distribute blue recycling bins throughout campus, with the goal of providing a recycling bin next to virtually every trash can in every building. Bins will be in hallways, offices and classrooms.

The program is “single stream” recycling, meaning items won’t have to be separated. Everything goes in the same blue bin. That includes cardboard, paper, phone books, glass bottles and jars, magazines, detergent bottles, metal cans, aluminum and plastic soft drink containers, copier and office paper and even junk mail (but not those Tyvek plastic overnight mailing envelopes).

Items that still can’t be recycled include paper towels and paper cups, plastic bags, Styrofoam, hazardous materials, food waste, mirrors, light bulbs and ceramics such as dishes.

“We’re going to make this as easy as possible for everyone,” Abad told the gathering. “If we don’t make it easy, this will be out the window in two months. We don’t want that. We want this to work.”

Law professor Fred Cheever, chairman of the Sustainability Council, says not only will DU students, faculty and staff make a difference through the amount of waste they recycle, they will also be a part of something bigger, that can affect changes in packaging and materials.

“We are one of 550 universities signed on for this,” he said. “The amount of purchasing power of 550 universities is dizzying. We can change a lot of things.”

[Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correct an error.  In an earlier version of the story, Coggeshalls’ name was misspelled. We regret the mistake.]

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