When you hear the words — University of Georgia — you probably think about the roaring sound of 92,000 fans in Sanford Stadium yelling “Go Dawgs,” or the infamous phrase “Public Ivy School.” And, of course, the colors — Red and Black. But a federal agency is adding to that image, and the addition is “Green.”
The University of Georgia was nominated as a Green Ribbon University for 2017 by the U.S. Department of Education. The Green Ribbon University award recognizes schools that reduce environmental impacts and costs, improve the health and wellness of schools, and provide effective environmental and sustainability education.
According to the UGA Office of Sustainability, the University is striving to reduce the amount of waste sent to local landfills by 65% by 2020.
“The main goal of recycling on campus is to ensure that landfill and recycling bins are collocated at every location, ” says Melissa Gurevitch, an intern at the UGA Office of Sustainability.
UGA currently has 9 campus recycling drop-off sites and uses single stream recycling at convenient outdoor locations around campus. Although the University offers a number of ways to recycle, Denali Hazen, a recent graduate from University of Georgia, feels as though there is not enough knowledge about recycling on campus.
“There should be more information about recycling directly above all recycling bins,” says Hazen.
However, the lack of knowledge about recycling seems to extend beyond the boundaries of UGA’s campus.
According to Denise Plemmons, a Commercial Recycling Specialist for Athens-Clarke County, every business and multi-family residence must have an approved recycling plan on file with Athens-Clarke County Solid Waste Department.
“It is an ordinance and property owners can be cited for not being compliant.”
According to Plemmons, only one entity has been cited to date.
“They are always welcome to call our department with any questions. We receive calls all the time about whether something is recyclable or not,” says Plemmons.
The Recycling Department for Athens-Clarke County offers multiple ways to educate residents about recycling, including a Recyclable Items poster and informational flyers.
Mackenzie Light, a social marketing intern at the UGA Office of Sustainability, states “The simplest way for students to recycle in their day-to-day lives is to learn what is recyclable and what is not recyclable, and then dispose of waste according to those rules.”
So next time you walk over to the landfill trashcan, think twice about whether the item in your hand could go into the recycling bin next to it and help UGA keep green in it’s color wheel.