The University of Texas (UT) receives a lot of packaging material every year because of the various shipments that are sent to its laboratories. Since the university has enough space to accommodate this packaging material, it has decided to save it and send it to a nearby recycling unit. The recycling unit will convert this packaging material into eco friendly promotional items like recycled shopping bags.

The Green Fee Program at University of Texas

The university decided to take up this initiative because of its Green Fee program. To help eco-friendly initiatives, the university reduces $5 dollars from every student's fee and transfers it to the Green Fee program. The university collects $5 dollars during the fall and spring breaks and around $2.5 in the summer session from the students. Through this program, the university has been able to sponsor approximately $7,200 to the packaging waste recycling initiative.

According to the biochemistry and associate chemistry teacher, Karen Browning, the Green Fee is designed to sponsor projects that will become self-sustaining over a period of time. Karen is the coordinator of this program at the university level, and she feels that this initiative has helped the students at UT to develop a more eco-friendly attitude.

University of Texas Encouraging Eco-Friendly Promotional Items Through the System

According to Karen Browning, the sponsorship money from the Green Fee is used to transport the packaging material within and outside the campus. A lot of the labs within the UT campus have plastic foam material waste. With the help of trucks, this waste is collected in one common place in the university, the Welch Hall. Once the packaging material is collected within the campus, it is transported to a dumpster named Pickle Research Center through trucks. A recycling company named HdI Plastics, Inc. collects waste materials from this dumpster and then recycles it. According to officials, the recycling company melts the packaging material and then reshapes it to sell it back to the manufacturers.

According to the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UT has been able to successfully recycle 120 pounds of waste packaging material so far. According to Kicholas Kuzola, a student volunteer for the initiative, the recycling of the packaging material depends on the total amount of waste available at the dumpster. HdI Plastics spends a lot of money recycling these waste materials, so if there is very little packaging material available at the dumpster, the company waits for future stocks to recycle.