The impact of the eco-friendly programs on campus may appear minor to an outsider. If you were to get a look at what goes on behind the scenes, however; you would begin to see the bigger picture of what NKU’s green programs are doing to make the campus cleaner and more efficient.
The overall work is much larger than what you see from the blue and black recycle bins in each building, according to Ed Herschede, supervisor of custodial services and material handling. The recycling bins have made an impact on campus; according to Facilities Management, in 2011, the campus recycled almost 62,000 pounds of plastic bottles and cans.
“It’s not just one part of the university that recycles,” Herschede said.
Within Facilities Management at NKU, many forms of recycling occur, such as scrapping metal from old vehicles rather than sending it to a junkyard, and recycling worn down tires to help make new ones. These are just a few of the many things they do to save resources, according to Herschede.
It’s not all going on behind the scenes though. Many of the green initiatives are happening in plain sight, such as the new practices in Northern Fare Food Court, according to Celeste Manning, marketing manager for NKU Dining Services. According to Manning, certain restaurants give incentives for students who are looking to help the university “go green.”
For one, coffee shops have a deal that if you bring your own refillable cup or mug, they will put your drink in your cup. By doing so students would save ten cents on their purchase and save another paper cup from possibly going to a landfill.
Another program is centered on a product called the “Eco-Clamshell.” For a one-time charge of five dollars you can get a tray to put your food on instead of having paper food containers for each entrée and side. This isn’t a one-use item; when you’re done with it, take the tray back and they will wash it. The trays will be there for you to use the next time you come to eat.
In 2011, the campus recycled over 350,000 pounds of paper. If that amount of paper had made it to a landfill it would have filled 605 cubic yards of space, according to Facilities Management at NKU.
When it comes to saving paper, there is one other thing you may have already noticed if you eat in the Student Union often. It may have come to your attention that there are no longer napkins at each table. This is part of a plan to save paper, according to Manning. Although Manning said, “it may seem like a pain,” to have to get up to go get napkins, the school has already saved over 10,000 napkins from going to a landfill just from this plan.
Throughout the coming weeks there will be even more ways to recycle around the Student Union with Recyclemania coming to campus once more. The event started on Feb. 3 and runs through March 30; it will be a chance to recycle products bought on campus.
Recyclemania, in its sixth year on NKU’s campus, is a recycling program practiced all over the country. It adds a sense of friendly competition amongst any organization on campus that is interested in joining.
Soon there will be large barrels in the Student Union to put your used plastic products in; the competition comes in when whoever has the most recycled products at the end of each week wins. For first, second and third place there will be awards and prizes including free pizza for on-campus events for the top recipients. There are still spots available for any organization interested in getting involved. You can find application forms at the information booths on the second and third floors of the Student Union.
Something NKU would like to emphasize to students is that all the green programs on campus are mainly for the preservation of the environment, according to Jane Goode, environmental design planning coordinator for NKU.
“We are doing this for the environment, not for a profit,” said Goode.
Overall, Recyclemania’s main purpose is to raise awareness about the environment, according to Herschede, who urges students to, “think about it when you have a bottle in your hands.”