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UISG seeking apartment recycling options

BY DANIEL VALENTIN | NOVEMBER 13, 2014 5:00 AM

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After a month of working with students, the University of Iowa Student Government is making a strong effort to add recycling options to Iowa City apartments.

UISG Sustainability Committee Chairman Yeltzin Rodriguez said this initiative is very popular among his constituents, and the idea of creating recycling options for apartments is a very reasonable idea.

“It’s so widespread in the dorms, so we really ought to have them in apartments,” he said. “Apartment landowners don’t always agree with the idea, which is a problem.”

Yeltzin said last year’s committee struggled with pressuring the apartments to make recycling an option for tenants and turned to students to email officials asking them to allow for it.

“Students would email city officials and tell them that they’re willing to pay a few dollars extra just so they could recycle,” he said.

Yeltzin said the response from students was effective, so they are going to play a keen part in the movement this year, as well as others.

“This year, we’re putting a petition together,” he said. “Students will be able to sign it, as well as union members, churches, and members of the group 100 Grannies for Climate Change.”

Iowa City Recycling Coordinator Jennifer Jordan said this is an idea that she has worked on for two years.

“In 2012, we got five local apartments to adopt recycling for tenants,” she said. “It worked out really well. The cost of the service was covered by the city, landowners, and a grant we were given.”

Jordan said 45 percent of the Iowa City population is without recycling options, and it only costs an apartment an additional $1.50-$2 to incorporate recycling into the complexes.

“Landowners won’t lose money in the process,” she said. “There are quite a few ways to add that service to apartments, some of them are even free.”

Jordan said the major obstacle to getting apartments to allow recycling is that tenants don’t know about the topic, and thus the landowners don’t either.

“The most important thing that needs to happen is for students to push and support our cause,” she said.

UISG President Patrick Bartoski said the apartment business models don’t always incorporate recycling, making the idea incompatible with the system.

“Incorporating recycling options for apartments is all about changing the culture of apartments,” he said.  “It is now crucial that students living in apartments push for the things they want, including recycling.”

Bartoski said once the students living in apartments understand that it’s realistic for them to be given recycling options, they’ll work as a community and push their landlords to get it done.

“Our generation cares about recycling and our environment,” he said. “I trust they’ll do what needs to be done, and soon, we’ll start to see more and more recycling in the future.”


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