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Recycling is a campus-wide effort at Appalachian

recycle1_t.jpgBOONE—When Jen Maxwell sees an overflowing trash can on the Appalachian State University campus, she quickly thinks of the potential for minimizing campus waste through reduction and recycling.

ASU Recycles Staff.jpg
Appalachian State University recycled 26 percent of its waste in 2007-08 thanks to the help of the ASU Recycles program. Staff members are Resource Conservation Manager Jen Maxwell, left, Stanley Carroll, Caleb Critcher, David Tye and John Taylor. Not pictured is student intern Anna Erwin. (Photo by University Photographer Troy Tuttle)

John Taylor.jpg There’s no shortage of plastic bottles, aluminum drink cans and glass bottles on a university campus. John Taylor fills a container with plastic bottles that will be taken to Foothills Sanitation and Recycling in Wilkesboro. (Photo by University Photographer Troy Tuttle)
CalebCritcher.jpg More than 85 tons of office paper were recycled at Appalachian State University. Caleb Critcher helps collect recycled paper, newspaper and magazines from the university’s academic and office buildings. (Photo by University Photographer Troy Tuttle)
Stanely Carroll.jpg Stanley Carroll moves a bail of cardboard that’s ready for recycling. Last year, more than 104 tons of cardboard were recycled at Appalachian State University. (Photo by University Photographer Troy Tuttle)

Maxwell is Appalachian’s resource conservation manager, a job she accepted two years ago after serving as recycling and education and outreach coordinator at UNC Chapel Hill. Maxwell graduated from Appalachian in 2001 with a degree in appropriate technology. She had planned for a career in green building and design. “But sometimes doors just open up for you and you end up in a different area,” she said of her career.

Since coming to Appalachian, Maxwell has helped faculty, staff and students recycle 26 percent of campus waste in 2007-08. Recycling also saved the university more than $125,000 in terms of the cost of waste that didn’t go to a landfill.

“One of my main objectives is to make recycling more convenient,” Maxwell said. During the past year the ASU Recycles program has upgraded and added recycling containers throughout campus buildings, developed a logo and embarked on an education and outreach campaign.

A total of 771.6 tons of waste was collected by the ASU Recycles program in 2007-08. Among that number were almost 105 tons of cardboard, approximately 85 tons of office paper, about 47 tons of books, 31 tons of newspaper and 27 tons of magazines. More than 71 tons of food waste from the University’s Food Services were composted and used in landscape application on campus. More than 286 tons of wood waste was turned into mulch at the Watauga County inert debris landfill.

At home football games, Maxwell’s office with the help of many volunteers distributed more than 6,000 green bags to tailgaters and collected more than 7.33 tons of bottles, cans, cardboard and paper from the “Recycle at the Rock” areas and Kidd Brewer Stadium.

While the total number of tons recycled almost doubled this past year, there is room for improvement according to Maxwell. She still sees cans and bottles tossed in the trash rather than a recycling bin, and bottles and cans accounted for 19 tons of the collected recyclables last year.

“From my observations, I see recyclables in the trash quite a bit even though we have added containers across campus and in office hallways to make recycling more convenient,” she said.

Maxwell, student intern Anna Erwin and members of the Greening of the Union committee are working on a directory of recycling areas in Plemmons Student Union to help increase recycling in the student center. If successful, the pilot project will expand to other buildings on campus.

Erwin also will assist with increasing educational outreach activities. “It’s a full-time job just getting the word out about the recycling program,” Maxwell said.