UA Recycling promotes sustainability on Gamedays

Ashanka Kumari

While recycling may not be at the top of most Bama fans’ lists on game days, it is for one University group.

On home game days, UA Recycling promotes environmental sustainability by passing out blue bags to tailgaters on the Quad as well as containers inside the stadium, Tony Johnson, executive director of logistics and support services, said.

“There are 40 gray [recycling] containers throughout the stadium,” Johnson said. “Ten on the Quad as well as a tent where we pass our blue recycling bags. For every three bags, people can exchange them for items [such as Nike shirts and fleece sweatshirts]. It’s a great incentive to get fans to recycle.”

The prizes are given away on a first-come, first-served basis with a limit of one item per person per game day.

For students living off campus and other members of the Tuscaloosa community, The University of Alabama Recycling Department provides drive-up bins for its Drive Up Recycling program, Johnson said.

Community members can drop off aluminum cans, tin cans, paper, plastic, cardboard and newspaper at the Ancillary Services Building located at 1115 14th St.

Bria Mattox, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, said recycling is something anyone can do with a little extra effort.

“We have plenty of bins around campus and they are usually on main walking paths,” Mattox said. “In most cases, all you have to do is hold onto your plastic bottle a tad bit longer until you get outside to recycle it instead of just throwing it away in the classroom trash can.”

Academic departments at the University can also benefit from recycling through the campus mail service, Mike Butts, manager of the campus mail service, said.

“We have programs through Hewlett-Packard and Staples to recycle print cartridges from campus,” Butts said. “The University gets recycling points for recycling HP products and can use these points to purchase new products from HP in the future.”

Campus mail is bundled with paperclips and rubber bands, which the campus mail service repackages in 100 percent biodegradable bags and offers to academic departments to order free-of-charge from campusmail.ua.edu.

“You wouldn’t think a paperclip would make a difference, but in a large capacity, it makes a big difference,” Butts said.

In 2010, the Environmental Stewardship Committee created the Office of Sustainability, which has worked with UA Recycling, Energy Management and Bama Dining to work closely with other parts of campus to promote sustainability events.

Along with the Office of Sustainability, the Go Green Sustainability Portal is an initiative that provides students, staff, faculty and the surrounding community with information about sustainable practices at The University of Alabama, Johnson said.

Other ways the University promotes sustainability is through advertisements of campus “green” practices as well as events campuswide, he said.

“Recycling saves resources, keeps non-degradable products out of landfills and oceans as well as keeping costs down,” Mattox said. “There are so many advantages to an action that takes such little effort; there’s really no excuse not to recycle.”