Cardboard recycling available on campus

By By Jed Layton and By By: Jed Layton

By Jed Layton

A year after a recycling program was implemented on campus, and thanks to the recent purchases of new equipment, students will be able to recycle cardboard in a cheaper and more efficient way.

The U bought two cardboard balers and eight large recycling trailers to assist in the recycling process, which U Recycling Coordinator Joshua James said will make the program more effective.

These industrial-sized balers allow the cardboard to be moved more efficiently by forklifts instead of being moved individually by hand.

Jessica Scharf, Associated Students of the University of Utah sustainability board director, said U trash dumpsters were once full of cardboard boxes that would take up space.

“It was costing us money to get rid of the empty space caused by boxes that weren’t broken down,” she said. “It was realized there was a need for recycling cardboard.”

Today the U generates an average of 6,000 lbs. of recycled cardboard each week.

“We realized how much cardboard was being wasted,” James said. “We came up with a plan to take the cardboard from the waste stream.”

James said the baler compacts the cardboard to a 1,000 lb. bale, tying it up and stacking it.

Scott Powell, recycling specialist at the U, spends nearly all day loading the baler with cardboard. He said this new system works well, but he misses the old ways.

“The system works pretty well, but I get chased around a lot,” he said. “Loading cardboard isn’t an easy job. Before I just tossed cardboard in a bin, but now it takes a lot of work.”

However, the hard work pays off. James said the U gets $70 for each ton of cardboard from the recycling company Weyerhaeuser, which picks up the baled cardboard.

Despite the success, both James and Scharf said they would like to see more involvement.

“It is interesting how each department functions on its own accord,” Scharf said. “There are a lot of resources that others aren’t aware of simply because it isn’t required of them to know.”

James said he hopes that by placing more cardboard recycling trailers around campus more people will begin recycling.

Scharf said students could recycle their own cardboard from home by bringing it to school and dropping it in one of the many trailers around campus.

However, students, faculty and staff need to be careful to not contaminate the cardboard with other materials. Both Powell and James emphasized the need for clean cardboard without water damage and food stains.

“The number of pizza boxes that come in is ridiculous,” Powell said. “We can only accept clean cardboard and only cardboard, just like the sign says.”

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Tyler Cobb

Recycling specialist Scott Powell compresses cardboard from around campus in to 1,000-lb. bales using the new baler.