Going green: NGU's recycling program brings in big bucks

Megan Conley, Staff Writer

 Photo courtesy of freeimages.com.

Photo courtesy of freeimages.com.

The grass isn’t the only thing that’s becoming greener as North Greenville University’s recycling program is quickly growing and bringing in profit for the school.

Not many people know that NGU has a recycling program, but it is steadily becoming a large asset that is helping turn waste into thousands of dollars in returns.

Currently, NGU recycles cardboard and office waste through the Sonoco Recycling Incorporation that picks up the products every three months. In this amount of time, the company usually collects an average of six tons of recyclable material from NGU, according to the director for the program Danny Pittman.

“The reason I got into recycling is because it costs us $45 per ton to have our garbage disposed of, so every ton I recycle is helping that cost and helping the school because it’s environmentally friendly. It’s less money that we’re paying to have the garbage disposed of,” said Pittman.

NGU is currently receiving an average of returns between $4,000 and $6,000 for the recycling program. Pittman admits the current method for recycling produces a multitude of benefits, though it presents some problems.

“[Sonoco] picks up the materials for free, they furnish the boxes it’s stored in so we don’t have expenses in it. I had a goal to get enough money back to break even between the trash being disposed of, and the only way to gain now is for more participation or to start recycling different things. We’d love to recycle plastics, but it takes a lot of storage room,” said Pittman.

The process of recycling includes collecting the products and bailing them, which takes the items and compacts them together into separate bails. In order for NGU to begin recycling plastics, Pittman stated that there would need to be a building to be used to store the plastic products until enough could be collected to make a bail.

“It would take thousands of plastic bottles to get one bail, so you have to store it before you can get enough,” said Pittman.

If students are interested in participating in the program, there are a multitude of ways to begin recycling through the program.

For cardboard boxes, there is a shed under the dock of the dining hall that has a cardboard press, so students can take their boxes there to compact them, then dispose of them in one of the containers. There are disposal locations behind the library, at the maintenance building, next to the elevator in the Admin building and on the end of Neves in the wooden box next to the trashcans.

If students have office waste, they can put it in a box and it can be brought to the trailers next to the new tennis courts on Blackwell Road, which is where the recyclable office supplies are stored.