Volunteers wanted to improve U’s recycling

Sustainability Ambassador Sarah Martinez shows off the University of Utah's recycling bins.

Sustainability Ambassador Sarah Martinez, student coordinator for the Recycling Ambassador program, says the new program will help the campus learn how to use the University of Utah’s current recycling system better.

By Ayrel Clark-Proffitt, Sustainability Office

Concerned about people putting greasy pizza boxes or Styrofoam into the University of Utah’s recycling system? So are we!

The Sustainability Office, in partnership with Facilities Management, is calling all volunteer-oriented students, staff, or faculty to join the brand-new Recycling Ambassador program. Sign up online today!

Recycling Ambassadors will learn: 1) What can and cannot be recycled on main campus; 2) The common contaminants in recycling bins at the University of Utah; and 3) How to talk to peers, as well as faculty and staff, about changing behavior. After learning the ins and outs of campus recycling, the Recycling Ambassadors will spread out across campus in February and March to teach the University community what materials go in what bin.

“This program is invaluable to students in that it will help create efficiency in the system that we already have,” says Sarah Martinez, student sustainability ambassador and the Recycling Ambassador program’s student coordinator. “The Recycling Ambassador program is great for our campus, and it can also be a way to meet peers with similar values to create new friendships.”


  • Attend a 1.5-hour class at 4 p.m. on Jan. 13 to learn the details of campus recycling from campus and local experts;
  • Take a 1-hour tour of Rocky Mountain Recycling at 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 27;
  • Volunteer 10 hours in February and March teaching other members of the campus community your vast array of recycling knowledge!

So, why should you become a Recycling Ambassador?

Mixed paper recycling bin.

Magazines can be recycled in Mixed Paper bins, which in campus offices are most often blue with a red label.

  • Learn the ins and outs of campus recycling: The 1.5-hour class on recycling here on campus will teach you what goes where and why! Have you ever wondered whether that paper coffee cup is recyclable? (No, it isn’t.) What about the sleeve that mostly protects you from burning your hand? (Yes, put it in the Mixed Paper bin!)
  • Network with like-minded peers and recycling experts: It is cool to hang out with people who value the same things you do. Meeting experts can lead to future mentors. Plus, by meeting other students with the same interest, you may have the opportunity to put your heads together and collaborate on a Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund (SCIF) project. You’ve got sustainable ideas, SCIF has money. Learn more here.
  • Use your newfound expertise to help friends with recycling: Have you had the experience where you watched your friend put something in the trash that is recyclable and cringed? You should know that you are not alone. By becoming a Recycling Ambassador, you can support your friends with the knowledge that you are giving your friends good information.
  • Move the University closer to its recycling goals: In the 2010 Climate Action Plan, the U committed to reducing its waste by 25 percent in five years. That timeframe came and went. Be part of the solution.
  • Receive a certificate of completion of the Recycling Ambassador program: If all these other reasons weren’t enough, you will receive a certificate for being an awesome human being (and for completing the volunteering). It’s a great line on your resume.

Space is limited to 30 participants, so sign up today!

Ayrel Clark-Proffitt is the campus engagement coordinator for the Sustainability Office.

One response to “Volunteers wanted to improve U’s recycling

  1. Pingback: Don’t Be Trashy- Join the Green side | sustainableUTAH·

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