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Earth Day Marks First Anniversary of Oklahoma City University Recycling Program
OKLAHOMA CITY — The campus-wide recycling program at Oklahoma City University will complete its first year of operations this week. Although individual departments had recycled on their own initiatives in the past, OCU started a university-wide system on Earth Day 2009 featuring plastic collection containers for paper, cardboard and plastic. “Having a uniform campus-wide program makes it easier for everyone in every department to contribute to preserving the Earth’s resources,” said Chelsea Ewald, chairwoman of OCU’s Blue Goes Green committee. The committee was one of several groups on campus to help initiate the program. The facilities maintenance department made room for the large paper bundling machine and other necessary equipment. Housekeeping staff empties the blue recycling containers on a regular weekly schedule. Each building on campus has at least one set of containers. One container in the set is for paper products and another is for plastic. Since the program launched, more than 20 tons of paper, 4,000 pounds of plastic and 7,000 pounds of cardboard have been recycled. A certificate from the recycling company, Red Earth Recycling, indicates the amount resources saved by the recycling program. The certificate states that up to Jan. 1, OCU’s recycling efforts had saved the equivalent of 65,769 trees, 40,414 barrels of oil and more than 1 million gallons of fuel. The recycling program is part of an overall plan to make OCU more environmentally friendly, said Oikos Scholars program co-founder and Petree College of Arts and Sciences Dean Mark Davies. Oikos is a service-learning student group dedicated to ecological sustainability and improving society. “Colleges require a lot of resources to operate, so it’s important for us to do as much as we can to reduce our environmental impact,” Davies said. “We have made major improvements on campus not only with what we return through the recycling program, but also in what we get in terms of materials and energy usage.” Other Earth-friendly policies include planting two trees each time one is removed, printing promotional materials on recycled paper, issuing biodegradable graduation gowns and replacing standard light bulbs with Energy Star high-efficiency bulbs.