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Dorm rooms may get personal recycling bins

BY ALISON SULLIVAN | NOVEMBER 11, 2010 7:20 AM

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Every University of Iowa dorm room could soon get an individual recycling bin under a new proposal.

UI Student Government Sen. Sunny Kothari proposed the initiative to help fund the project, originally proposed by Associated Residence Halls.

"This is the first major step to get recycling through," the UI sophomore said. "The first place to start [is] where students are at home."

The estimated $20,000 initiative was tabled until the next meeting because of several concerns about the funds, said UISG President John Rigby.

"This has been an issue that's been talked about at length for a while, and it's good that we're addressing it," he said. "Hopefully, with more homework we can bring the price down."

Though recycling has been discussed for years, Kothari attributes finally moving forward with the initiative to "the numbers."

"We have hard facts, and we have a price — a goal that we can set in our sights," Kothari said. "It's achievable."

A committee is being developed to explore initiative concerns, such as funding and effectiveness.
"We're hoping that it's an incentive to make it easier for students to recycle," said Kothari, who insists it will be done by the beginning of the next academic year.

The initial proposal was written by University Housing hall coordinator Alandis Johnson, who brought the proposal before the Associated Residence Hall senate, which approved it.

A recycling bin pilot program was instituted two years ago in Quadrangle through University Housing to see if residents would actually recycle. And they did, said Andy Kutcher, the executive director of Associated Residence Halls, who lived in Quadrangle last year.

The proposed bins would be black and gold and would feature UISG's logo in recognition of its contribution.

Students would pay for the bins through their housing contract, and any damage to the bins would be paid for out of pocket.

Rigby said though UISG has the money available, members intend to look further into other possible avenues for funding.

The recycling bins would be only one step in the UI's ongoing effort to increase sustainability on campus.

Officials signed an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency several weeks ago when they announced the "2020 Vision" goals for the UI. Director of Sustainability Liz Christiansen met with the Staff Council on Wednesday to discuss the goals and ask for input.

The council proposed an ad hoc committee be created to help educate university members on the most effective ways to practice sustainability.

"We should be a leader," said Rob Posekany, a research assistant and staff council member. "It's only going to increase going forward."

Posekany said the council's diverse membership throughout campus make it only sensible for the council to take an active role in the push forward.

"This year, we have a good Staff Council that is really engaged, and I'm getting the sense that the members really want to make a difference," said Staff Council President Amber Seaton.


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