Campus Org Success Through Recycling With Terracycle
Participant: Emily Knobbe
Two issues currently exist on campus that many may not be aware of. The first: students produce a staggering amount of waste each day just through the amount of food a campus consumes. There are places all over campus to pick up food items, but the wrappers and containers just go into the trash. Plastic bottles are given designated recycling locations, but there are so many materials that are not recycled because we do not support the proper programs. By generating so much waste and throwing away almost all of it, our campus contributes to pollution and resource wasting more than we would like to believe. If only there were a way to broaden the spectrum of recycling on campus…
Ohio Wesleyan is home to over one hundred student organizations, many of which participate in philanthropy -related programs. While traditional methods can still be effective, students may find themselves becoming bored by the stream of fundraisers and Greek-organized events. Knowing it is still important to support a cause and be involved in community service, organizations may have trouble searching for a way to make a difference that is out-of-the-box but still not too time consuming.
Terracycle offers a solution to both of these problems. Terracycle offers recycling programs for 44 types of atypical materials. Amount of materials sent in is recorded through use of a point system; certain types of materials are worth more points than others, but almost all materials can contribute to gaining some amount of points. After accruing a certain amount of points, they can be redeemed for items ranging from circuit board coasters to recycled plastic benches. A program designed to target recycling cookie wrappers could redeem points for tote bags made from cookie wrappers to further advertise their initiative. Possibly the best way to help a cause is to donate the points through one of Terracycle’s charity partners. Points can be redeemed to provide people with clean water, to adopt land, to donate to organizations such as Heifer International and Red Cross, and many more.
I plan to provide information on how to strengthen an organizations philanthropy through Terracycle by documenting my own collecting of plastic cups on campus. My plan is to provide receptacles in places where plastic cups are most frequently used, such as fraternity houses and SLUs. I will collect from these receptacles and keep records of the number of cups recycled from each receptacle. I may be able to try different locations for the receptacles to get optimum usage by students. Through my efforts to start this program, I can spread the word about the Terracycle programs through campus-wide advertising, and potentially help other organizations start their own recycling brigade. Recycling programs that would be useful on campus include chip bags, candy wrappers, cookie packaging, energy bar wrapper, gum packaging, home storage, writing instrument, and flip-flop recycling. Since almost all of these items are available from Thompson convenience store, it might be convenient to look at setting up various recycling containers in the seating area outside of Thompson. Student organizations could sponsor at least one of these programs and be responsible for managing the container.
The end goal for this project is to generate awareness on campus of a project that can both support our student organizations in their philanthropic pursuits as well as provide a widespread recycling program that will cut down on campus waste. Through my efforts this semester and documentation of the process, it will become easier for groups on campus to take advantage of this type of philanthropy. As we participate in community service, we will also gain the chance to reduce waste in our world.
1. Terracycle, http://www.terracycle.net/
This website will serve as the primary source for this project. It provides information on all of the recycling brigades and all possible options for point redemption. Terracycle also offers mailing labels that require no postage to make recycling through Terracycle cheap and convenient.