April 20, 2009 by Andi Murphy Round Up
NMSU is ranked number three out of 510 universities and colleges that participated in Recyclemania 2009, according to the final results calculated on April 17.
Schools participating in Recyclemania brought in 69.4 million pounds of recyclable material combined during the 10-week competition.
NMSU recycled 40,630 pounds of paper, cardboard, plastic and aluminum said Art Lucero, solid waste manager for Aggie Recycling. Last year NMSU came in fifth with 34,795 pounds of recyclable material, according to recyclemaniacs.org/results.
“I feel great,” Lucero said. “We’re going to continue to improve.”
From all the garbage NMSU students and staff tossed, 64 percent of it was tossed into recycle bins throughout campus. There are already 400 blue recycling containers, 125 clear-stream containers and NMSU recently added about 3,000 small blue bins to nearly all offices in each building, Lucero said. For the rest of the year and next semester, Lucero and his crew are looking to put out more containers to campus and even student housing outside of campus in a curb-side program.
“Just because Recyclemania is over, doesn’t mean that we stop collecting,” Lucero said.
Recycled materials go to El Paso and NMSU gets about $25-30,000 a year for this, which is recycled back into the program. NMSU used to spend about $27-30,000 a month on garbage disposal, but since recycling has become a habit on campus, $17-20,000 is spent, Lucero said. Reusing organic materials from the campus environment (grass clippings and fallen leaves) also saves about $100,000 by turning it into compost.
Since there was such an increase in recycling, Lucero has hired five new employees to the Aggie Recycling team.
The team has also added two new pieces of equipment to help with the recycling process; a compressor, called the “Slug,” which smashes 800 aluminum cans into a manageable 20-pound block and a “Shredder” that shreds plastic to save space.
The Aggie Recycling team is thinking about adding new recyclable materials to the list, such as batteries and ink cartridges.
“We are setting an example for our community and our state,” Lucero said. “The overall goal is to increase awareness.”
New Mexico has a recycle rate of 11 percent, according to recyclenewmexico.com. NMSU has a rate of 64 percent. When the community sees students and staff recycling this much, it would be great if they could pick up the habit, Lucero said.
“It’s the right thing to do and we can pass this on to others,” Lucero said. “We can’t recycle our planet, so we have to take care of it.”
For more information on recycling and what can be recycled, go to nmsu.edu/aggierecycling.