90 percent of campus trash can be recycled

by Angie Herman, NHS corporate communications | September 19, 2002

Nearly 90 percent of the trash generated on the UNMC/NHS campus can be recycled. Employees can assist in the recycling efforts and help divert loads of material from the local dump just by taking the extra step to drop recyclable items in the recycling bins.

"We want to set a good example for our community and be good stewards of our environment," says Rick Boldt, campus recycling coordinator. "We ship three to four semi truck loads of recycled materials a month. Just think of all the space we're saving in our land fills."

The campus recycling process is easy and convenient. Simply throw recyclable items in the blue recycling bins. Environmental Services (EVS) staff collects the recyclable materials on a regular basis. These items are then taken to the UNMC Recycling Center where items are sorted, treated as confidential, loaded and sealed on a truck and sent to Muskogee, Okla., to be processed into such things as paper towels, tissues and napkins.

What can be recycled?

Almost everything is recyclable except food, food wrappers and tissues. Even boxes and mixed paper can be recycled.

"Be sure not to throw food in the recycling bins," Boldt said "If you do, the items are considered contaminated and can't be recycled. Everything in that container will be thrown in the regular trash."

In addition, employees should take care to not throw confidential items in the regular trash.

What is mixed paper?

  • Books
  • Cardstock
  • Envelopes
  • Magazines
  • Phone Books
  • Newspapers
  • Paper (carbonless or NCR, onionskin, shiny/coated, ledger -- colored and white)

It's not necessary to remove staples or paper clips before putting items in the recycling bins; however, cardboard boxes should be broken down.

Confidentiality of materials

Employees don't need to be concerned about confidentiality when choosing to recycle documents. "All mixed paper that is collected and taken to the campus recycling center is treated as confidential," Boldt said. "The recycling center has controlled access and all employees are to process mixed paper in a confidential manner."

When 44,000 pounds of mixed paper have been collected, a pick-up is requested from Georgia-Pacific. "This is called a secured-load pick-up," Boldt said. "When the semi arrives at the recycling center, the staff loads it with the bails. The semi is locked and a seal is put on the latch."

Once the materials have arrived at Georgia-Pacific, the recycling center receives a message stating that the materials have been received and that the items have been thoroughly destroyed by re-pulping and de-inking. Included in that message is the security seal to prove the load was not tampered with.

Individuals worried about confidentiality can request a recycling bin that contains a locked lid. Once the container is full, EVS will pick it up. If a department is purging a lot of files and needs a container for such an event, they can call the recycling center for a special container.

If a department needs a special pick-up of one of more boxes of materials, whether it's confidential or not, they can call the recycling center for a special pick-up of the boxes.

Collection sites

In addition to collecting items from campus, the Recycling Center also collects material from Clarkson West, nine clinic locations, Metro Health Services Credit Union, Joslyn Art Museum and the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

UNMC and NHS employees, students and staff can also bring recyclable materials and aluminum cans from home and drop them off at the recycling center. The recycling center is south of The Lied Transplant Center, between the Service and Utility buildings. All proceeds from aluminum recycling are donated to the Ronald McDonald House.

More information

Call 559-4100 with questions about campus recycling. To request a blue, desk-side recycle bin or large container, contact EVS, at 559-4073. If your department needs a large, roll-a-round container, with or without a locked lid, contact the recycling center at 559-2163. For concerns about EVS pick-up of trash or recyclable materials, contact Paul Turner, director of EVS, at 559-6928.