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By Ayrel Clark-Proffitt, Sustainability Office
Have you ever wondered whether that No. 6 plastic cup can be recycled on main campus? What about whether you can put a coffee cup into the mixed paper bin?
The Sustainability Office and Facilities Management are partnering to improve the university’s recycling education on main campus and help answer questions like those listed above. The process is two-fold:
- Survey the campus community to better understand the barriers and opportunities for the recycling system.
- Create a Recycling Ambassador volunteer force that will educate the campus using information learned from survey results.
(By the way, the answer to both introductory questions is no.)
“To some students, recycling is daunting — they’re scared of recycling wrong so they don’t do it at all,” said Sarah Martinez, student sustainability ambassador and the Recycling Ambassador program’s student coordinator. “With this program, I think students will find recycling is easier than they think and find that it’s an effective way to make a difference on campus and in the world.”
Take the survey
The recycling survey, available online now, will help identify misconceptions and knowledge gaps about the University of Utah’s multi-bin recycling system. The survey should take less than 15 minutes to complete. Questions on the survey will show Facilities Management what buildings are struggling the most with the recycling system and bin placement. In addition, several questions will highlight the university community’s understanding of what materials can go into which bins. The survey closes Monday, Dec. 21.
Become a Recycling Ambassador
Using the knowledge gained from survey responses, the Sustainability Office and Facilities Management will educate a force of Recycling Ambassador volunteers, who will fan out across campus in February and March to teach the university community about recycling. The brand-new Recycling Ambassador program will teach volunteers:
- What can and cannot be recycled on main campus
- The common contaminants in recycling bins at the University of Utah
- How to talk to peers, as well as faculty and staff, about changing behavior
Program requirements include a 1.5-hour class at 4 p.m. on Jan. 13, a one-hour tour of Rocky Mountain Recycling at 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 10 and 10 hours of volunteering in February and March. Space is limited to 30 participants.
Why become a Recycling Ambassador:
- Learn the ins and outs of campus recycling
- Network with like-minded peers and experts
- Teach your friends how to recycle
- Move the university closer to its waste-reduction goals
- Receive a certificate of completion
Ayrel Clark-Proffitt is the staff coordinator for the Recycling Ambassador program and the campus engagement coordinator for the Sustainability Office.