Law College recycling program involves students, faculty, staff

May 23rd, 2013 | By | Category: 2013, Campus News, Issue, May 23

A core group of College of Law faculty has created a recycling program that encourages participation of other faculty, staff and students.

“We had this group of six of us here that recognized that we weren’t living up to our environmental responsibilities,” said Brian Striman, a professor of law library and head of the college’s technical services. “We just got together and decided how we would parse it out.”

That faculty group included Striman, Mark Novak, Bob Shopp, Bill Lyons, Anthony Shutz and Sandi Zellmer.

Every Tuesday, Shopp issues an email to faculty and staff announcing that a recycling pick up is planned for later in the day. Employees place small, office-sized recycling bins in the hallways. In the afternoon Shopp and Lyons empty the bins into a larger tote, wheeling the recyclables to a dock area for pick up by UNL’s recycling program employees.

“If you come in on a Tuesday afternoon, you’ll see all these recycle bins lined up in the hallway,” Striman said.

Zellmer oversees the student portion of the plan. Novak and Shutz help out as needed on the faculty side. Striman takes care of all recycling in Dean Susan Poser’s office, gathers cardboard boxes and places them into storage areas for future use, coordinates recycling pickups as needed, and even hauls glass bottles to recycling sites off campus.

In the Law Library, Marcia Dority Baker, assistant professor and access services librarian, oversees photocopying recycle efforts. And in the college’s civil law clinic, Deanna Lubken, the office manager and legal assistant, handles all shredding and recycling of client files.

“This all came together because a small group of people had a passion for recycling,” Striman said. “At the time, we just sucked it up and did it because it was important. Now, 10 years later, it’s just become a part of everybody’s workflow.

“We’re not fixing any holes in the ozone layer, but we are doing what we can right here under out noses.”

Other recycling efforts across campus

Individual recycling programs are helping make an impact on UNL’s annual recycling rate. Here are a few programs that have helped the university reduce its carbon footprint:

Building Maintenance Reporters

BMRs monitor recycling within each campus building, reporting needs or pick-up requests to UNL’s recycling coordinators.

Husker Power

A student-led push to recycle game day waste in Memorial Stadium in 2011 led Athletics to apply for a Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality permit that allows the Huskers to start a recycling program. Today, all trash collected during Huskers events is sent to a facility that separates recyclable goods from trash. In 2012, the first year of Athletics’ game day program, more than 33 tons of recyclables were kept from the landfill.

Education and Human Sciences

Two years ago, student ambassadors from the college arranged to have recycling bins placed in classrooms in Teachers College, Henzlik and Mabel Lee halls. The ambassadors collect the bins and sort the recycled goods into larger totes in a loading dock area. About one month after the student program began, faculty and staff started a similar effort.

Mail Trucks Deliver

Through an agreement between Landscape Services and Mail and Distribution Services, UNL mail delivery vehicles now pick up empty ink cartridges from special drop points in campus buildings. The drivers deliver the cartridges to a bin at Mail and Distribution Services. Prabs Shrestha said the program, on average, fills a 26-foot long trailer every week. The cartridges are sent to a Colorado facility where they are refilled to be sold again.

University Health Center

Sara Bindrum, medical materials supervisor, said the UHC recycles regularly. This year the UHC received new phone books after dumpsters specified for the old books were removed. Bindrum contacted UNL’s recycling coordinators to get a one-time pick up of the old phone books. “It was no problem at all,” Bindrum said. “Whenever we make a request, they respond quickly. The recycling office is really great.”

— Troy Fedderson, University Communications

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