Former student begins recycling initiative at UTEP

A+student+uses+the+new+recycling+bins+placed+in+Union+Building+East.

A student uses the new recycling bins placed in Union Building East.

Lorain Watters, Assistant News Editor

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Students will begin to see groups of multi-colored bins on campus starting Jan. 21 as part of the Miner Recycling System’s new initiative to help the university become mindful of waste.

According to Pedro Diaz, a recent graduate of business and project manager for the Miner Recycling System, UTEP’s current recycle rate is 8.47 percent, whereas other UT schools are much higher, 25 – 50 percent.

Diaz said 75 percent of what is consumed can be recycled, and only 25 percent is trash.

MRS was able to begin the project with the help of Union Services and the UTEP Green Fund.

“MRS is a pilot. We have bins located in Union Building East and West, the Natural Gas and Conference Center and the College of Business,” Diaz said. “The pilot will end April 31st and by then we will decide whether it was successful and to continue the program campus wide.”

Information will be handed out to students about the project and how to use each bin and posters will display further information.

The red bin is for aluminum cans, black is for trash—including coffee cups and organic waste—the blue bin is for plastics that are marked with a 1 or 2—such as water bottles, and the green bin is for paper—white or colored paper, excluding newspaper and magazines.

“I think (the recycling system) is long overdue,” Ofelia Dominguez, Union Services Director, said. “We should have been doing this a long time ago…I think our students are ready and I hope that we get a lot of participation.”

Like Dominguez, Arthur Morales, junior English and American literature major, agrees that this program should have started sooner and is excited to see the benefits that accompany it.

“I can trace (being eco-friendly) back to the first time I saw Disney’s ‘Pocahontas.’ It had a pretty big impact on the way I saw nature. After that I saw everything as being alive, but it wasn’t until after I got to UTEP and saw a PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) video in class that I started to really become aware of the effect of our actions,” Morales said.

Morales uses the Sun Metro and has taken up cycling to get around the city. By realizing what and how much he consumes and the effects that food has on the body, Morales was able to spend his money wisely and limit the amount of his intake.

“Growing up poor, I was used to only having what I needed and I was very aware of the importance of space. I think the key to living an eco-friendly life is to minimize the amount of stuff you have,” Morales said. “The best way to raise awareness for recycling is to place it in front of people’s faces. Hopefully more students will become more conscious of what they buy now because they will see where their trash ends up.”

For more information about MRS, visit gogreen.utep.edu.

Lorain Watters may be reached at [email protected]