Recycling program gets boost from grants

UIC hopes to take recycling to a new level with two new state grants to expand collection on campus and begin food scrap collections in the two student centers.

A $71,000 grant from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is going to the RecycleMania program in 10 residence halls, five College of Medicine buildings and 11 laboratories.

“We did a waste audit two years ago and found out that the recycling program is really developed in our office buildings,” said Joe Iosbaker of the Office of Sustainability.

“The challenge is in buildings with a large traffic flow of students — the student centers and residence halls. So the challenge is to engage our students with the recycling program.”

University Hall, for example, has a 70 percent recycling rate, compared with an overall campus rate of 47 percent, he said.

“We are working together with the housing administration to really involve the students,” Iosbaker said.

“New posters we developed are being put up in all the residence halls, and there are new labels on the bins in the hallways.”

Some 500 campuses are registered in the national RecycleMania competition sponsored by the National Recycling Coalition. UIC ranked ninth two years ago and eighth last year.

“We’re shooting to move up,” Iosbaker said.

“I embrace any kind of sustainability project,” said Susan Teggatz, director of campus housing. “We’re encouraging staff and students to participate.”

The second grant, also from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, is for $90,000 to support the food scrap collection in student center kitchens.

Orange peels, trimmings from meat and vegetables and similar leftovers will be taken to a composting facility by the Resource Center, an outside vendor.

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