Pilot recycling program trashed for study

Donations totaling $7,000 from three senior administrators have changed the student government’s plan of action to bring a comprehensive recycling program to the U.

The pilot recycling program that the Associated Students of the University of Utah planned to initiate in the Union later this year will not happen, at least for now.

Micah Jeppsen, ASUU director of auxiliary services, had already raised $5,000 for the pilot program.

Instead, the supporters of the recycling initiative are looking for someone to do a feasibility study. It will determine how high the initiative will climb on the U’s long priority list during a time marked by budget tightness.

Dave Pershing, senior vice president of academic affairs and Fred Esplin, vice president of university relations, said there are a lot of petitions for administrative money. They didn’t let that stop them from allocating $5,000 and $1,500 respectively, for the project. Barb Snyder, vice president of student affairs, made available $500. “There are certainly a lot of people asking for need, but this was a request that I heard multiple times from student government, and we do try to be responsive to ASUU leaders,” Pershing said.

The money he gave “was to match the contribution made by ASUU…because there seems to be a lot of student interest in recycling” and because “[ASUU] couldn’t make the whole project go.”

According to Pershing, the U should lead in terms of environmental issues, but should avoid losing money.

“Everybody thinks that recycling is saving money, well…that is not always the case,” Pershing said.

Thus, what happens with recycling at the U will depend largely on what the feasibility study says the U can afford. Currently, Jeppsen is trying to get a group within the David Eccles School of Business to do the financial analysis because it would be cheaper than using an outside company. According to Jeppsen, the price for a study hovers around $15,000. The incoming $7,000 gives the fund-raisers a total of $12,000. The accomplishment ranks high for ASUU.

“I think it’s huge. We haven’t just thrown out plastic bins. This is a big step toward a permanent solution,” he said.

Whether or not the program will be affordable-starting up Utah State University’s program cost an estimated $250,000-is up in the air at this point, but administrators know that students are interested.

“It seems to me that it would be in everyone’s interest at the U if we could recycle more of the paper and plastic products and other recyclables that are generated by 40,000 people here every day,” Esplin said.

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