By Joseph Arsenault, Editor

Percentage of Trash versus recyclable materials.

Percentage of Trash versus recyclable materials.
(Pie chart courtesy of SCC)

Trash Day on Mantor Green

Trash Day on Mantor Green
(Photo by Elizabeth Theriault)

A program called TerraCycle had promotion recently at UMF during an event the Sustainable Campus Coalition (SCC) hosted called Trash Day. The event was held on Mantor Green as a collaboration of the SCC, Everyone’s Resource Depot, and representation of United Way through a program called TerraCycle.

   SCC Co-coordinator and UMF senior Kaisha Muchemore,  in an interview at the event said, “This is the annual trash day, we’ve been hosting this for five years.” The SCC sorts through student trash each year for this event. “We collect 24 hours’ worth of trash from the residence halls,” she said.

   It seems some students aren’t recycling as Muchemore said they find “all recyclables.”  She said they have discovered “usually about 30 percent [of trash] that could have been recycled,” is not.

   In a follow-up email interview after the event UMF senior Sarah Lavorgna said, “Terracycle is a program of ‘up-cycling.’ It is the ‘re-use’ aspect of the Reduce-ReuseRecycle triangle that we like to live by.”

   She explained bags and water bottles can be created from products the program takes such as disposable razors and plastics from toothbrush containers. Lavorgna even said, “I may or may not have purchased a whole box of Capri-Sun juices just so I could Terracycle them!”

   Environmental Policy and Planning major and third year student Joe Dignam stood in front of a table with United Way signage. He explained money is given to United Way by collection of items for TerraCycle. “Everything we collect through TerraCycle is donated to United Way.”

   Adjunct Professor Sarah Martin, Ph.D., enthusiastically discussed the project between TerraCycle and the United Way.  “I started this project in the spring of 2012,” she said, “I’m glad to have Joe as an intern. He’s doing a great job.”

   Martin mentioned she was eating an energy bar and it said, visit terracycle.com. That’s when she thought it would be a great way to give back to the community. “The idea was spawned by me,” she said.

   “What’s great about the program is that it makes it possible to recycle almost all of the plastics that Sandy River Recycling can’t take at this point. Any #6 product and other misc items like granola bar wrappers can be kept out of the waste stream!” said Lavorgna.

   Those involved in the TerraCycle program are interested in seeing more TerraCycle bins around campus, in the residence halls and in other areas Lavorgna mentioned.  “There have even been suggestions of placing the bins in community areas to further promote it and generate more money for the United Way,” she said, “The only things holding the program back are a lack of aesthetically pleasing containers because of their cost, and man-power should the program become very popular within the Farmington community.”

   UMF first-year Jasmine Heckler was present at the event behind the table for Everyone’s Resource Depot during the Trash Day event.  “We use recycled products to sell for cheap,” she said, “We have everything.”

   To learn more about TerraCycle visit http://www.terracycle.net/en-US/, and to learn more about United Way visit www.uwtva.org.