Recycling at University of New Orleans

The Problem

The University of New Orleans is a twelve thousand-student institution located in the Lakeview area of New Orleans. At this time, both UNO and the city of New Orleans lacks comprehensive recycling program. Recycling in New Orleans is only available through limited free monthly municipal drop-offs and a privately owned recycling service for which subscribers must pay for weekly pick-ups. Though the University has not taken significant measures to establish a program, the student body has independently formed a student led initiative to establish a recycling program and work to promote environmental resource management by UNO. Our group has been responsible for initial steps of placing both paper and aluminum can recycling bins in two buildings on campus, recruiting students to volunteer their time to help collect and sort the recyclable trash, and raising funds to pay for recycling. Through contact with professors and presentations to the student body, our groups has gained the support of the Student Government as well as associated student leadership groups and associated faculty advisors. The bins on campus will serve the students, faculty and administration on campus, allowing all members of the community to recycle without paying a fee. We are ultimately hoping to prove to the University that recycling is a necessary amenity and lead the way for the city of New Orleans to reinstate a city-wide recycling program.

Plan of Action

The primary problem with on campus recycling was a lack of interest from the administration and a belief that recycling would take too much work, especially at a university already stressed by recovering from Hurricane Katrina. In response to the resistance from the administration to implement a recycling program we decided to start our own program to show the administration our commitment and the feasibility of campus recycling. Our group is a collection of officers representing six student groups who work in a unified manner to asses options and craft policy level decisions that are assigned to the assembled student groups. The functionality of this organization has proven itself as we have established a paper/aluminum can collection system in a primary campus building within nine days of forming our organization. This has allowed us to serve the desire of the student body for on campus recycling. The amount of product collected, number of allied groups, and funding support from individual students and faculty indicates that our approach has positive momentum among both the student body and faculty. Future expansion of our program is going to involve the establishment of numerous recycle drop points at areas of heavy student traffic near traditional trash deposit locations and in computer labs which will encourage students to recycle and prompt them to demand recycling in the city as well.

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