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Recycling encourages stewardship of land

Nov. 15, 2005

By GENTRA CARTWRIGHT, reporter

Many people strive to make a difference in the world. Today, America Recycles Day, provides a chance for those with an altruistic nature to take action, if only in a small way.

By placing cans in appropriately marked bins and buying recycled products, saving resources can be an individual, group or global effort.

"I think students care about recycling, but I think we're not informed enough as a student body," Navasota sophomore Kat McMullen said. "It is important to recycle because God gave us this earth and we should be stewards of His land."

For the past eight years America Recycles Day, a national all-volunteer, nonprofit organization, has had the mission to hold an annual national awareness event to promote the social, environmental and economic benefits of buying recycled products and actively recycling.

It awards prizes such as fuel-efficient cars, bikes composed of recycled content and, in some years, eco-friendly houses to citizens who go above and beyond to promote recycling in their community.

Baylor has its own recycling program.

Whether it's paper, electronic devices, toner and inkjet cartridges or compost, many items are being monitored by Risk Management and Baylor Housekeeping to promote recycling around campus.

"Several years ago, students were requesting a program specifically for recycling aluminum, paper and plastics," said Leigh Ann Moffett, risk management fire safety specialist. "Since there is no funding at all for these programs, support for recycling programs around campus has evolved over the years due to students and staff who have a heart for its cause."

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Henry Chan | Lariat staff
Maria Rassokhina, a St. Petersburg, Russia, freshman, uses a recycling bin Monday in the Bill Daniel Student Center.
To recycle paper goods, the BU Renew program has placed recycle boxes by every office, copy machine and any other area where paper is used. The program accepts any type of paper with the exception of carbon paper and blueprints. It is the duty of housekeeping services to empty the boxes when necessary to transport the material to a recycle dumpster, according to the Baylor Housekeeping Web site.

"Baylor Housekeeping receives monthly reports after the recycle containers are weighed," Castro said. "It appears the program is working because poundage statistics are increasing since the program was implemented."

Castro also said it takes nearly a week for the boxes and bins to fill up, and there has been a need for more dumpsters and boxes around campus.

A composting program has also been established in recent years to contribute to healthier soil in the flower beds and on campus grounds.

According to the Risk Management Web site, its efforts included taking last fall's leaves and late winter's live oak leaves to the grounds' yard and forming them into a new pile.

Spring and late summer rains, along with the turning of the giant pile by the grounds' front-end loader, has quickened decomposition of the leaves and soon the mostly broken-down organic material will be ready for incorporation into the campus beds.

Since fall 2001, the size of Baylor's compost pile has expanded regularly during fall and spring semesters.

The expansion of the program has resulted in pickup of raw kitchen waste five times a week, from Collins Café. This waste, roughly 12,000 pounds to date, was incorporated into the pile, according to the Web site.

Collins Café is the only dining hall involved in recycling efforts because Memorial Residence Hall and Penland Residence Hall produce so much more food waste on a daily basis that there is no way to easily store it and to transport it to the compost pile, Moffett said.

Because of the dedicated efforts of staff and management and the small amount of food waste at Collins Café, a volunteer is able to transport about five 5-gallon containers of food waste to the compost pile each day after their shift, she said.

Turnover in administration and the issue being tossed about is thought to have been the reason behind the lack of funding and direction in Baylor's recycling efforts, according to officials in the Risk Management department.

Moffett said they are hopeful that additional recycling programs will be added in the future as more attention is drawn to the issue.

"We know we are not functioning at an ideal capacity, considering the potential Baylor has, but we're doing the best we can with the resources we have available," Moffett said.