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Updated 12:00 PM February 2, 2004
 

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Recycling is big at Big House



Recycling at U-M is big business, including at the Big House. More than 16 tons of containers and 13 tons of cardboard and paper were reclaimed from the waste stream after U-M's seven home football games in 2003.

"We continue to work hard to make it easy for students, staff, faculty and visitors to recycle all across campus, and especially at football games," says Tracy Artley, U-M's recycling coordinator. "With more than 100,000 people gathering in one spot each Saturday, we can really make a difference. This year, the containers we collected at football games alone, such as plastic water bottles, can make more than 37,000 square feet of carpet or power an average home for four years."

Linda Mufarreh and Amanda Khoury pick up recycling at Michigan Stadium. (Photo by Pamela Smith, Grounds And Waste Management)

The total amount of materials recycled from the U-M football games is estimated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to save 230 trees and 95,000 gallons of water.

Artley, who joined the program at the beginning of the football season, coordinated the game-day collection efforts of U-M staff along with student volunteers from the Huron High School National Honor Society.

"We were really pleased after the Notre Dame game in September when we captured 33 percent of the waste, including four tons of cardboard and almost six tons of containers," Artley says. "It was a record-size crowd and record recycling numbers."

Additionally, U-M joined other local and state organizations during America Recycles Day in November by collecting discarded small electronics.

"This was our first year in collecting unwanted electronics across campus, and we collected 43 cell phones," Artley says. "Next year we're hoping to expand our collection to include outdated pagers and personal digital assistants [PDAs] as well as cell phones."

In 2002 U-M was given the 2001 Outstanding School Program award by the National Recycling Coalition. Waste diversion efforts on campus have been occurring for more than 50 years through resale and reuse of materials and equipment.

A formal recycling program was created in 1989 and continues to grow each year.

In fiscal year 2003, more than 4,700 tons of various materials were recycled from campus buildings and football games.

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