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Students moving onto campus recycle tons of packing materials

Posted in NEWS on Monday, August 16th, 2010

Move-In, the weekend when the majority of undergraduate students move into their residence halls at Vanderbilt University, can generate a lot of potential waste.

All those cardboard boxes, plastic bags and covers and Styrofoam packing materials start to add up when more than 1,500 first-year students leave home for the first time.

That’s why Vanderbilt has continued to evaluate and improve the environmental impact of Move-In each year. This year, plastic film recycling will be offered for the first time in addition to the cardboard and Styrofoam recycling already offered.

“Last year, we offered the molded Styrofoam recycling for the first time and filled up two 26-foot trucks in addition to the 7.5 tons of cardboard we recycled,” said Jennifer Hackett, recycling coordinator. “We are adding film recycling this year which will mean the plastic bags and comforter cases and similar items will be recycled this year.”

Vanderbilt’s Move-In also utilizes water stations rather than handing out water bottles to families and students to help reduce waste. Twelve water cooler filling stations will be set up at strategic points around the residence halls.

“More than 38 billion plastic water bottles end up in U.S. landfills each year,” Hackett said. “We are diverting bottles from the landfill and eliminating this waste at this event.”

“Move-In affects thousands of students and their families,” said Andrea George, director of the Sustainability and Environmental Management Office. “It gives us an opportunity to educate and inform the students about campus recycling programs and Vanderbilt’s commitment to continually improve our environmental stewardship.”

First-year students will move in on Saturday, Aug. 21, this year.

Contact: SustainVU, sustainvu@vanderbilt.edu

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