MTU’s Sustainability Demonstration House to hold second waste reduction drive

Copper Country
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HOUGHTON, Mich (WJMN) – On April 17, between 9:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M. a waste reduction drive hosted by students residing in Michigan Technological University’s Sustainability Demonstration House will collect items in Lot 22 on MTU’s campus.

The drive will collect five types of items:

  • Plastic film
  • Dental products
  • razors and razor packaging
  • plastic bottle caps and rings
  • foil lined wrappers
  • egg cartons (all types and sizes)

Kendra Lachcik, resident of SDH, says each category of items will go to a different place.

“The egg cartons are going to local farmers, both the razors and dental products are going to TerraCycle where the plastic will be melted into another product and then all the plastic film goes to a company called Trex and they turn it into decking boards, and if we either have 40,000 pieces of plastic or 500 pounds then we’ll get a bench donated to us from the company,” said Lachcik. “And then all the bottle caps go to a company called Preserve that turns them into kitchenware and toothbrushes and things like that and the chip bags and stuff like that go to TerraCycle as well.”

SDH is also working with Students for Sustainability to build a bench out of liter sized plastic bottles stuffed with plastic. Rose Turner, resident of SDH, says most of the recycling is cost free but they do have to pay shipping for the bottle caps and rings.

“This year we’re probably going to set out like a jar and ask people just to donate like a dollar or like a quarter or something because it costs like .001 cent to ship one bottle cap or something like that so I figure if people bring us like 100 bottle caps they could donate like a dollar and that would help with shipping costs,” said Turner.

Turner says a lot of planning goes into the drive. They first decide what to collect, then secure a location, find and coordinate volunteers as well as ensuring safety during COVID-19. This year they’ll have volunteers counting items in the ice arena during the event so that they can keep up with it.

Abbey Herndon, SDH resident, says anyone from surrounding communities can bring waste to the drive.

“Anyone can come to the drive so it’s on campus so of course students can come if they collect things, but anyone from the community or Marquette, they can come from anywhere and they hear of the drive and they have items they can come drop things off,” said Herndon.

Turner says the goal of the drive isn’t just to divert waste but to raise awareness.

“The first of course is to reduce waste going to the landfill like that’s great we want to do that but the second objective is we want to use the drive as an opportunity to educate the community and MTU’s campus because I feel like a lot of us are stuck in that mindset where ‘alright if this item can’t go in my blue bin curbside it goes in the trash,'” said Turner. “But that’s not true if we can’t reuse so many items, we can find other recycling opportunities for them, we can reduce our usage of that item, so we’re just trying to change people’s mindset through this drive that you know you don’t just need to put stuff in the trash that can’t be recycled curbside that there is probably something else you can do with this item.”

Resources for recycling can be found on Copper Country Recycling Initiave’s website or Recycle 906’s website.

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