UAB opens campus recycling center

By on April 14, 2009

UAB opened the new Recycling Drop-Off Center as a part of the university’s continued efforts to go green. Since its opening on March 2, the center located at 620 11th Street South has processed 40,000 pounds of paper. The recycling center also processes #1 and #2 plastics, cardboard and aluminum cans. This center is unique and convenient because it allows anyone associated with UAB to simply drop off their recyclables. The center is open for drop offs from 6:30-8:30 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. on Mondays.

Jon Paolone, the recycling coordinator of the UAB facilities, said, “It’s an important step to put a face on recycling. Not only are we collecting, we are making it convenient for them to bring goods to us. UAB doesn’t just want to have the school colors be green, we want to be a forefront in the movement.”

The drop off center is a collection center. The process is people bring in recyclables, preferably in cardboard boxes, paper bags or reusable bags. The materials are then sorted into categories and placed into compactors. The compactors are then emptied into dumpsters that are carried away by American Recycling to be processed in Bessemer.

Paolone explained that recycling is an important part of conservation efforts and efforts to prevent global warming. “As a university, the majority of UAB’s waste is paper. By recycling this paper, we are preventing the destruction of forests. Recycled paper saves energy and allows trees to absorb more carbon dioxide, thus reducing UAB’s carbon footprint.”
But it is not an individual effort by any means. Paolone stresses that the work is made so much easier by UAB students who volunteer. “Alpha Kappa Alpha was very proactive about being involved,” he says, “along with Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity, UAB Green Initiative, and Physicians for Social Responsibility.”

UAB Green Initiative’s Umair Khan spoke about how the organization is cooperating with the UAB Recycling Center’s efforts to make UAB more green. What they do bins set up on all buildings to collect paper and transport them to the center’s main collection hub.

He wants to make it clear that recycling is just part of the movement. “The ultimate goal is to reduce energy consumption. Unplug things that aren’t being used and install automatic switches. Stuff like that adds up. Eventual goals are to get more solar panels on the rooftops. Things that decrease energy consumption. Our purpose is to be the voice that says, ‘Hey what about this? Why not do this?’”

Other UAB students are also stepping up the efforts to utilize this new center to its full capacity. Kristin Olson, a resident adivser at Blazer Hall, championed the idea of a recycling program at the dorm and pitched it to the RHA. Then student residents, Allie Garbutt, Karthik Sola and Joe Olson took the effort and ran with it.

“Happily, our biggest hardship is that Blazer residents are very enthusiastic and our greatest obstacle is getting enough man power to have it taken out as often as need be,” said Olson. Hopefully the opening of the UAB Drop-Off recycling center will make this easier and the program will expand.

Those involved emphasize that they are all partners in this recycling venture. They also stress that the goal of making UAB green would not be achieved by one particular organization, but a network of cooperation between the administration and the students.



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