Recycling Center recognized on Earth Day

New location open to the public with larger space providing growth


Illustration by Joseph Weeden

Earth Day is celebrated all over the world.

By Katie Dunn, Staff Writer

April 22 is the 45th year Earth Day has been celebrated and EWU is honoring it with its annual Earth Day Fair.

Earth Day was founded by Gaylord Nelson in 1970 as part of a political movement to increase the number of environmental protection policies after the Santa Barbara oil spill in 1969, according to Earth Day Network (EDN), an organization focused on promoting civic engagement.

Unlike previous years, this Earth Day’s events begin with a ribbon cutting ceremony, led by University President Mary Cullinan, and an open house for Eastern’s new recycling center located in parking lot 12.

Karen Wichman, director of facilities services, said the open house is to show people the new facility and to open it up to the public by letting them know about the center’s operations.

“To see our recycling operation and what we do on this campus, it’s pretty amazing,” said Wichman.

Wichman said it was predicted the recycling center will manage 450 tons of recyclable material this year.

The Cheney recycling center and the EWU center operate differently said Wichman, Eastern collects and processes all of Eastern’s recycling, which includes the items recycled at the dorms.

According to Ablemen, Cheney public works director, Cheney has no hand in the operations of Eastern’s recycling center.

EWU’s center can accept any metals from on campus and from the Cheney community, according to Wichman, because they have a 20 yard dumpster in the back where metals are stored.

Wichman said Eastern began its recycling program in 1989 and all the recyclable material from Eastern used to be taken down to Cheney’s recycling center where facilities service members would help sort it.

When the Cheney Recycling Center program began to scale back, Wichman said Eastern acquired a small building on campus to sort the recyclables.

“And we just outgrew that so dramatically,” said Wichman.

In 2011, the facilities services began campaigning for a larger space, which they are now moved into.

Awareness and education are the key to getting more students to recycle, said Wichman.

Wichman said there is a continuous effort to educate student groups through custodial staff, the recycling department and the trucking department. Large campaigns are usually made during the fall quarter, especially in the dorms.

Recycling is promoted at Eastern football games, according to Wichman, and facilities services just finished up with Recyclemania, a national competition.

“So there’s all things to try and excite people,” said Wichman.

At the EWU recycling center they are able to compact a lot of recyclables, said Wichman, which can be held onto until there is a better market price.

“Basically anything that you can think of we want to see it go to recycling or reused somewhere, instead of in the garbage,” said Wichman.