Green Corner: Rider and Terracycle rally for sustainbility on campus

Rider has been ranked in the Princeton Review’s top most sustainable schools in the country and one of the greenest universities in the world by the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking. But what has Rider done to get where it is today?

The university has implemented a number of programs that have quickly moved us up in the ranks. One of those programs occurs in every dorm and has a high percentage of Rider’s residential students participating: the amazing Terracycle health and beauty brigade. Terracycle started as a local company based out of Trenton and now operates globally.

The health and beauty brigade, in particular, collects difficult-to-recycle plastics that are commonly found in the packaging of beauty and personal care products and either upcycles or recycles them into new products. Shampoo bottles, for instance, are a perfect example of what Terracycle likes to reuse and recycle. When asked what she thinks of the Terracycle health and beauty brigade,

Resident Advisor Talauria Wright says, “I love the health and beauty brigade, it’s super easy. Hill Hall always does a fantastic job recycling. The green bucket is always full of stuff.”

With these materials, Terracycle takes the shredded and melted down plastics and either makes amazing new packaging for companies like Garnier, Febreze and Colgate or creates outdoor furniture, garden supplies and tote bags. Rider has sent over 27,300 items to Terracycle through the health and beauty brigade so far.

Not only does Rider benefit from the health and beauty brigade, but also from Terracycle’s cigarette waste recycling program. Terracycle upcycles cigarette waste into fertilizer and packing peanuts. Rider has sent a whopping total of 24,000 butts to Terracycle so far. Thanks to the cigarette waste recycling program, the university safely disposes of the toxic materials commonly found in cigarettes.

Rider is gearing up to begin a new brigade, the writing utensil brigade, thanks to senior Eco Rep Ambria Dell’Oro. With the writing utensil brigade, students will have a safe and sustainable way to dispose of their used writing utensils. It is estimated that over 2 billion mechanical pencils are sold in the United States alone. Terracycle has begun a program to safely recycle all the different writing utensils students use that typically end up in the garbage at the end of their useful life.

When asked why she thought Terracycle’s writing utensil brigade would be a good fit for Rider, Ambria Dell’Oro said,“ If you really think about it, not all that much plastic goes into making a pen or mechanical pencil, but 2 billion pens and mechanical pencils in the trash equals a lot of plastic that will never biodegrade. I wanted to start this program at Rider to ensure that students knew about this unknown problem and to make sure students had a way to dispose of these writing products sustainably.”

Thanks to Terracycle, Rider is able to properly dispose of difficult-to-recycle materials. Students and faculty alike can rest easy knowing that they have the opportunity to make a difference.

—Lauren Margel

Lawrenceville Eco Rep

 

Printed in the 3/29/17 issue. 

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