As the world's population continues to increase, so too does the demand for finite resources. Recycling diverts waste from our landfills into facilities that can separate and process the waste so that it can be made into new products. Recycled products not only reduce the need for virgin materials, they also decrease the amount of energy used in production of products. Recycling is one of the easiest ways we can help reduce our impact on the planet.
Reduce, reuse, and recycle! First and foremost, reduce: ask yourself if you really need to purchase what’s in your hand. By analyzing our purchasing habits, we can begin to eliminate needless trash that is sent to the landfill. Second, determine if the item can be reused by you, your friends, or a local organization such as Goodwill Industries. Finally, recycle the item if at all possible. By recycling, we become better stewards of our environment and more accountable consumers. Recycling is only part of the equation though -- buying recycled and post-consumer products brings the equation full circle. Here are some of the reasons why recycling is so beneficial (Source: U.S. EPA):
• Recycling protects and expands U.S. manufacturing jobs and increases U.S. competitiveness.
• Recycling reduces the need for landfilling and incineration.
• Recycling prevents pollution caused by the manufacturing of products from virgin materials.
• Recycling saves energy.
• Recycling decreases emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change.
• Recycling conserves natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals.
• Recycling helps sustain the environment for future generations.
UCCS initiated a comprehensive recycling program in 2007 with a two-year goal of recycling 26% of its waste. In January 2009, UCCS moved to single-stream recycling, which helped ease uncertainty of what goes where, and increased the presence of recycling bins throughout the campus. Single stream allows all recyclable materials to be put into a single bin, thus eliminating the need to separate the waste. Single-stream recycling typically improves recycling rates by about 30%. UCCS' longer term goal is to achieve a 50% recycling rate by 2012. We are pursuing a number of initiatives to achieve this goal, including zero waste athletic and other events on campus.
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• Flattened Cardboard
• Office & Color Paper
• Junk Mail
• Phone Books
• Brown Paper Bags
• Plastic Containers #1-7 (No Styrofoam)
• Plastic Caps (Soda, Medicine, etc.)
• Aluminum Cans
• Pie Tins
• Steel Cans
• Empty Aerosol Cans
UCCS has a battery recycling program with Bluestar Recycling. Currently, there are black buckets around the UCCS campus to drop off all household batteries, small appliances, and cell phones. Dropoff locations:
• Alpine Housing Front Desk
• Monarch Housing Front Desk
• Osbourne Center 2nd floor lobby (built-in recycling unit)
• University Hall (Front Desk)
• Information Technology Help Desk (El Pomar Center)
• Campus Services Building Front Desk
• University Center Entrance near information desk
• Public Safety near front desk
• Family Development Center front desk
• Main Hall 1st Floor North Lobby (#100G)
• Dwire Hall 1st Floor Front Lobby
• Engineering Building 1st Floor Lobby
• Centennial Hall 2nd Floor Stockroom (#244)
UCCS Bookstore is working with Tonerbuyers and Cartridges-for-Kids to recycle toner ink cartridges. The links for which cartridges are acceptable can be found here:
As the UCCS campus grows, so does our need to reduce waste. Along with our Single Stream Recycling, we have a Heller Center composting system. This is a small composting system that allows for the natural aid to the Heller Center Garden. Soon the Susintability Office will introduce an industrial compost system, that will allow for food waste on campus to be composted.
Did you know plastic bags should NOT be recycled in a single stream recycling bin? While it is a plastic, it gets wound around the machines, and can slow the process down. To keep these expenses down, there are other ways to recycle plastic bags. UCCS Bookstore has a box to put plastic wraps in. Items that can be recycled can be found here:
RecycleMania is a friendly nationwide recycling competition among more than 400 colleges and universities that provides the campus community with a fun, proactive activity in waste reduction. Over a 10-week period, campuses compete in different contests to see which institution can collect the largest amount of recyclables per capita, the largest amount of total recyclables, the least amount of trash per capita, or have the highest recycling rate.In 2008, UCCS placed 41st overall and 17th among public institutions in its first time participation in RecycleMania, with a 25% recycling rate. This year the university achieved a 26.2% recycling rate, placing 104th overall and 53rd among public institutions.
Recycling off-campus in our personal lives is important too. While Colorado Springs lacks some of the recycling resources of other cities in Colorado, with a little effort it is possible to recycle most anything that is recyclable here. For more information on local recycling resources, visit the city's recycling web site.