Southeastern initiates recycling program, appoints coordinator
Contact: Rene Abadie
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HAMMOND – At Southeastern Louisiana University, whose colors are green and gold, “Go Green” is not just another way to cheer “Go team!”
Like many other colleges and universities, the Hammond institution is moving forward with a recycling program designed to cover everything from waste paper and plastic containers to used cooking oil and scrap metal.
“Recycling of waste materials is not only cost effective, it is also the right thing to do,” said Interim President John L. Crain. “With the growing concerns about waste stream management and impacts on the environment, recycling is a logical first step to reducing waste generated on campus. We want to serve as a model and demonstrate for other agencies and communities how recycling can be cost effective and efficient.
“A university campus is a small city that combines a wide variety of operations, including food services, retail operations, vehicle maintenance and landscape operations,” he added. “The potential for recycling opportunities is wide and diverse.”
Crain believes Southeastern students, as well as faculty and staff, will enthusiastically support recycling initiatives as they are developed and implemented. He said the program also offers students and faculty the potential to create a number of service-learning opportunities, in which students can gain academic credit by participating in community service activities that supplement academic course work.
Last year, the Southeastern Faculty Senate adopted a resolution encouraging the university to take an active role in fostering recycling efforts.
As an initial step, Southeastern has appointed Hammond resident Benjamin A. Taylor to fill the newly created position of recycling coordinator.
“I'm excited to hear that the university has appointed a recycling coordinator,” said biologist Mary White, president of the Southeastern Faculty Senate and professor of biology. “The Faculty Senate feels that the university should be a leader in matters such as environmental stewardship. It’s important that we set a good example for our students and our community on the desirability of conserving our natural resources.”
Recycling has come a long way from the days of Boy Scout paper drives, Taylor said, noting that high tech sorting firms – including some in the region -- are making the process more economically feasible.
“A good part of the equation is basic economics,” Taylor said. “Prices for recycled materials -- including paper, plastics and metal – have never been higher. In addition, products made from recycled materials generally require considerably less fuel consumption than those from raw materials and have less of an impact on the environment.”
Taylor’s initial tasks will be to evaluate similar university programs that have been successfully implemented, conduct an assessment of the university’s waste stream to determine recycling potential, and identify available markets for the collected materials. He is also charged with developing an educational campaign to promote recycling among faculty, staff and students.
Taylor said some recycling efforts are currently in place at Southeastern, including the recycling of old computers and all yard waste gathered over the 365-acre campus, which is composted use in landscaping the campus.
Taylor is a 1978 graduate of Louisiana State University with a bachelor’s degree in general studies with concentrations in earth sciences, physical and cultural geography. He has had a strong interest in environmental issues, having worked with the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and serving as publisher and editor of Louisiana Levant Magazine, a regional publication covering environmental issues in the Lake Pontchartrain Basin area.