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Chesapeake College Students Lead Recycling Effort

Tuesday, November 30, 2004


 

Each day a small group of Chesapeake College students collect the plastic soda bottles discarded by hundreds of people on campus.

The recycling group and its mission grew out of a class project during an honors biology class last spring. Club organizers Aymee Gonzalez of Hurlock and Josh King of Preston were among a group of students who presented a campus recycling plan to college administrators.

"The students put a lot of research and thought into the plan, so the college leaders said they would be supportive of the efforts," Greg Farley, biology instructor and the group’s advisor. "Students monitored trash on campus and did user surveys to determine how they could help."

Students found that bottled drinks are the most popular on campus with beverages in 20-ounce plastic bottles sold in the cafeteria and in vending machines. The students said that finding the area of greatest need was easy.

"I’d go into classrooms and it seemed like bottles would be everywhere. On the desks, in peoples’ hands, in backpacks, and on the floor," said Gonzalez. "It was such a waste for these to end up with the rest of the trash. The college was already recycling paper, so we thought plastic should be the next material on the recycling list."

This fall, the students decided to concentrate on recycling all of those plentiful plastic bottles on campus.

The group placed special recycling containers in each of the buildings and encouraged students to use the receptacles rather than trash bins to dispose of the bottles. In addition, the students are working with Sodexho/Marriott Food Services Manager Bruce Forgrave to recycle all the bottles left in the cafeteria.

The students empty the receptacles in each building daily, and then take the bottles to a central recycling center off-campus. Each day, they haul a 35-gallon container of bottles away from the Learning Resource Center.

Farley predicts the group will eventually remove the same amount of bottles each day from three academic buildings on the Wye Mills campus. The instructor credits Chesapeake staff and administrators with supporting the students’ efforts. The Maintenance Department donated materials for the student project and other Chesapeake employees help monitor the recycling receptacles.

Farley and the students are currently working with college officials to expand the campus recycling in the future

"We’d like to help Chesapeake be a good example of recycling for the whole community," Gonzalez said.

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