Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Campus Environmental Center and Recycling and Reuse

The Campus Environmental Center is an agency of Student Government that runs several environmental projects around campus including:

 - EcoReps: A Residence Hall peer-to-peer education group
 - Orange Bike Project: A free bike lending program 
- Trash to Treasure: Our annual garage sale of TONS of gently used stuff 
- Students for a Sustainable Campus: Our policy committee, taking action on lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
- Aluminum, plastic, and ink cartridge recycling.
- Sustainable food and on-campus gardens

The mission of the CEC is to empower the UT community to reduce its negative environmental impact and to foster a genuine culture of sustainability on campus through collaborative and constructive means. 

Trash to Treasure is a huge goods recycling program that takes place during move out each year. The CEC collects donations from students during move out, stores them over the summer, and then recycles them in a campus-wide garage sale in August. The 2005 sale raised $5,800 for campus projects, and the 2008 garage sale raised over $14,000 and saved more than 40 tons of stuff from heading to the landfill. From the 13th to the 19th this May, you can drop stuff in bins in San Jacinto Residence Hall and designated private dorms, donate unwanted items at donation lots, or call at 232-7840 for a pickup of unwanted furniture and large items from your home.

According to the coordinator for this project, all unbought items (except clothing which is resold at another CEC event - the the clothing sale, are donated to Austin city hospital, non profits like the Town Lake Animal Shelter, Treasure City, or Goodwill.
This event isn't restricted to students - the entire community is invited to participate. The CEC advertises through traditional means as well as Craigslist, campus wide emails, and news spots.

In 1998, the city of Austin passed the Commercial and Multi-Family Recycling Ordinance, which requires that residential buildings with 100 or more units establish an on-site recycling program and recycle a minimum of two designated materials, The problem is that the city ordinance doesn't apply to the many smaller complexes and fraternity and sorority houses that dot the student neighborhood of West Campus.

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