New recycle bins accept all material


UK’s recycling bins are littered throughout campus.

By Elizabeth Suh

Adding a little more green to Blue Nation, nine new recycling bins are now located around Patterson Plaza, making recycling easier for students.

Unlike many recycling bins on campus that accept one type of material, these bins, which appear to be trash bins with blue lids, are single-stream. This means all types of recyclable material can be thrown into one bin.

“It was a no-brainer to start single-stream outdoor recycling here,” said Mabruk Quabili, a graduate student in the College of Public Health who proposed the outdoor recycling project.

The project began last year as an environmental health class assignment to make a change.

Quabili noticed that larger universities already had outdoor single-stream recycling bins and wanted to bring them to UK. His professor liked the idea, so Quabili proposed the project to the President’s Sustainability Advisory Committee. It was approved last March.

Quabili worked with the Student Sustainability Council, Physical Plant Division and University Architect to launch the project.

The project costs $12,990 and is funded by the Environmental Stewardship Fee of $3, which is paid by all full-time students at UK, according to Shane Tedder, UK Sustainability Coordinator.

The Student Sustainability Council oversees funds from the fee.

A machine that makes single-stream recycling possible was purchased over the summer, Quabili said.

“Campus housing converted to single-stream recycling already,” Tedder said. “This is the first real attempt at outdoor recycling.”

The bins are located near buildings students walk by every day: two bins next to the Main Building, three around Patterson Office Tower, three around White Hall

Classroom Building and one near the College of Design, Quabili said.

A sign on the bins indicates that aluminum cans, paper products, plastic bottles and glass bottles can be thrown into the bin.

“It’s not like everyone is recycling,” said Afiya Meeks, a social work junior. “But having more recycling bins out there does make it more convenient for the people who do recycle.”

According to the UK Physical Plant division website, the total waste collected from campus was about 15.5 million pounds during the 2008 calendar year. The website stated that 32.8 percent of that was recycled.

“I believe it is important to recycle, but my actions may not necessarily say so —mostly because of laziness,” said Patrick Taylor, a kinesiology freshman. “I did throw a bottle in the bin outside White Hall today because it was there.”

Going green is an investment, Quabili said, but not necessarily in the sense of green dollar bills.

“Projects like this don’t pay for themselves. Things have a price tag, but a simple measure like this is an investment,” Quabili said. “The next step is more promotion, like QR codes for smart phones to scan and learn about these recycling bins. Hopefully these bins on central campus will attract attention.”

He said he would like to see more bins throughout campus in the future.

The project may not pay for itself, but it represents a bigger picture.

“Recycling is empowering. Students, faculty and staff do want to recycle, but this makes it more convenient, so they are more willing to do it,” Tedder said. “UK is taking the right steps as an institution to be responsible.”