Letter to the Editor: What Comes Around Goes Around

By Jeanne Le Ber, Associate Librarian, Eccles Health Science Library


I applaud the efforts of Conservation And Recycling Evolution, Terra Firma and the Bennion Center to evaluate and improve recycling on the University of Utah campus. It is an effort long overdue.

The Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library has partnered with the Marriott and Quinney Law libraries to address recycling issues specific to library materials.

These materials include duplicate and old bound or unbound journals, magazines, outdated books, old catalogs, junk mail, colored paper and cardboard. What unusable print materials we can’t sell or give away at book sales, we recycle.

As an example, libraries receive gifts and donations from faculty or friends. Sometimes these materials cannot be incorporated into the library collection and so they are discarded. Rather than toss these materials into the landfill, we are currently working with Weyerhaeuser to ensure that these materials are recycled properly.

At the Eccles library, we recycle the plastic packaging that comes with new journals, and we encourage staff to recycle styrofoam food containers and coffee grounds. Old CD-ROM disks are sent off for recycling to a company in New Jersey, and floppy disks are reformatted and reused by staff.

Recognizing that there is a cost to the U and to the libraries to responsibly recycle, there are also real costs to not recycling. Think about it, recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees and almost 7,000 gallons of water.

We have a moral responsibility to ourselves and the planet to recycle. We need to take action.

Jeanne Le Ber, Associate Librarian, Eccles Health Science Library