The three-year-old recycling campaign at the University of Dallas is in danger of being curtailed at the end of the academic year due to lack of funding to pay for recycling services.
UD spent $2,000 in recycling costs over the last three years, and the initial funds allocated to meet the costs are running out, according to UD’s purchasing department.
To continue the program, the university would need money from other departments, the students or an outside donor, since the program does not receive a new allocation of funds each year.
The university’s dedication toward recycling increased dramatically about three years ago when the university’s Environmental Club asked Purchasing Director Alan Sterling to help the school increase its recycling.
UD already recycled paper, but Sterling presented a broader plan to the Purchasing Council, which decides how the department spends its money. The department then decided to begin recycling glass, aluminum, cardboard and some types of plastic. The purchasing company AbitibiBowater as its recycling services provider.
Initially student volunteers picked up recycling from the different departments and took them to the large bins outside the Haggerty Science Building, and AbitibiBowater conducted biweekly pickups at the large bins.
However, it soon became clear that volunteers would not be reliable enough, and they were replaced with students looking for work-study jobs. It also became necessary for AbitibiBowater to conduct more frequent pickups, as the volume of recyclable material gathered increased, which involved an increase in cost for the school.
About a year and a half ago, Purchasing Assistant Joseph Amorella joined the purchasing department. Shortly afterwards in August 2010, UD began its electronic recycling program, consisting of the pick-up of computers, phones, printers and scrap metal, among other items.
UD chose company Round2 in Coppell, Texas which agreed to provide the services for free.
All together UD has recycled approximately 82.8 tons of material in the past three years for a cost of approximately $2,000.
Although most departments are supportive of the program, the financial support is not following, and the program is in danger of being ended as soon as the end of this school year.
The two bins outside the science building simply cannot supply the capacity that has become necessary. Still, an additional bin involves an additional cost that the university has no way to support.
Though the glass, aluminum, cardboard and plastic recycling are in danger of being cut, paper and electronics recycling would continue, since the services are provided free of charge. “You’d hate to have to cancel something because it did so well you couldn’t pay for it anymore,” Amorella said concerning the possible cutbacks.
Amorella also said that the student body ought to be further educated in recycling practices. When students use the recycling containers as trashcans, it causes problems for the student workers that collect the recycling, he said.
He added that full cans and bottles should not be placed in the recycling bins and neither should cardboard pizza boxes that are soiled. It should also be noted that, in public spaces, the short blue recycling containers are typically for paper recyclables, and the tall blue containers are for cans, bottles and cardboard, according to Amorella.
The purchasing department hopes to be able to find solutions to the problems faced by the recycling programs at UD and continue them in the future.