Since University of New England identified “environmental stewardship” as a core value in its last Strategic Plan, and recycling is one of the most iconic, visible and engaging pro-environmental behaviors we can exhibit, the sustainability program at UNE built its roots in the recycling program.
There is a reason for the list order of the “waste hierarchy.” The 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) are so ordered because the impact on waste reduction is highest when we reduce consumption first, while reusing helps us reduce waste further and recycling is the final step in dealing with resource management and scarcity. Currently the university disposes of approximately 561 tons of waste annually. Roughly 21% of this waste is recycled. While this is a good start, the university community is capable of increasing this recycling rate and we look forward to partnering with campus groups to achieve this goal. The Environmental Council and Campus Services supports the program and the Sustainability Office works closely with UNE’s waste hauler and Ecomaine to recycle as much material as possible through the single-sort recycling program adopted in 2009.
The recycling program seeks to engage students in reaffirming the university’s commitment to sustainability. Workstudy positions in the recycling program are available, and citizenship hours can be earned by volunteering in the program. Undergraduate Student Government made a commitment to the recycling program in 2012 by co-funding the electric truck that drives the recycling program. Students involved in the program can learn to operate this alternative fuel vehicle that makes our program even more sustainable. Please contact the Sustainability Coordinator (602-2507) to get involved.