October 5, 2017
University Recreation Outdoors successfully recycled enough snack wrappers during the spring 2017 semester to supply 10 people with one year of water through the TerraCycle recycling program.
The University of Arkansas is planning to become a Zero Waste institution by 2021, and UREC Outdoors plans to act as a leader on campus during the process.
An Office for Sustainability waste audit of UREC Outdoors’ trash found that snack wrappers and compost were the main sources of non-recycled material. In response to this audit, a 5-Stream recycling container was purchased for use in the UREC Outdoors program space HPER 102. Items that are recycled at UREC Outdoors include No. 1-7 plastics, aluminum, snack/food wrappers, glass, white and mixed paper, cardboard, and compostable materials.
After researching snack wrapper recycling programs, UREC Outdoors decided to participate in a program called TerraCycle. This online recycling collection service accepts typically un-recyclable materials via mail. The service pays for shipping, tracks the weight of the recycled materials, and awards points that can be exchanged for charity donations to organizations that provide potable water, help protect wildlife, and reduce carbon emissions.
In the spring 2017 semester, UREC Outdoors submitted enough snack wrappers to redeem 2,875 points, which is enough to supply water to 10 people for a year through the Charity: Water organization.
UREC Outdoors encourages UARK students and staff to begin their own Zero Waste initiatives at home, at work, and in the dorms.
“Recycle all that you can,” said Nick Allred, UREC Outdoors intern.
“It takes just a little extra work, but with organizations such as TerraCycle and Razorback Recycling, it’s actually pretty easy to do your part in reducing overall waste.”
UREC Outdoors has collaborated with the Office for Sustainability on several programs to continue the “Zero Waste” initiative at the University of Arkansas. The Environmental Protection Agency defines Zero Waste as having an overall diversion rate of 90 percent or greater, meaning that at least 90 percent of all waste produced at UREC Outdoors must be diverted from the landfill.
For more information on Zero Waste at the University of Arkansas, please visit the Office for Sustainability website.