Liz Arredondo is an executive assistant in the Center for Electromechanics (EME) at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus (PRC). She applied for and received a Green Fund grant for recycling enhancements at PRC. She partnered with Resource Recovery to first pair landfill trash and recycle bins in EME and then provide educational workshops and supply official bin labels and posters for attendees to take and utilize in their buildings.
Liz hopes members of the PRC community will attend the next PRC Recycling Education Session on April 2, 2019 from 2-3 p.m. at the Commons, in room 1.210. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own bottles for beverages, and all students in attendance will receive a free reusable tote and snacks.
Resource Recovery (RR): What inspired you to undertake this effort?
Liz: I simply want to do what I can to make our building look nicer, and this was one of the many steps in the right direction. I pride myself on being a very organized person, and recycling is an important issue for me. I started asking questions about the unorganized system for trash and recycling that the PRC had compared to main campus. Asking questions got me into contact with several people within Green Offices, Office of Sustainability, and Resource Recovery. All of these interactions led to a Green Fund proposal, which was awarded to me this fiscal year.
Most of the grant has been allocated to purchasing the approved Resource Recovery signage and labels. The hope for the PRC is to have every department out here get on board with the updates. I think it’s important for people to understand how to properly recycle, and the updated signage and labels can help tremendously with this effort. I am happy to be part of something that will help UT reach their 2020 zero waste goal. Additionally, it makes me feel like I am making a difference, which is a very rewarding feeling.
RR: What was your experience in getting your building on board with this effort?
Liz: I had a lot of people asking me questions when I first started organizing everything. Our lab technician was especially helpful with making the bin modifications. Upper management has been fully supportive of the effort. So overall, all of the changes were received pretty well.
RR: What changes or effects have you seen at EME as a result of the changes you made?
Liz: I feel like the signage has been helpful to people that are unfamiliar with single-stream recycling. I think most people are coming around to actually making the effort to recycle now.
RR: What zero waste advice do you have for other staff and faculty on campus?
Liz: Always carry a water bottle – I keep one in my desk at work for visiting the water dispenser. Also, when purchasing a cup of coffee, taking your own travel mug will usually get you a small discount on the price of your coffee. Hopefully, more places can implement this over time. Finally, say no to Styrofoam – I avoid it as much as possible.
This story was written by Lindsey Hutchison of Resource Recovery. Campus Champions like Liz really help Resource Recovery to roll out zero waste programs more effectively. Get in contact with us at ResourceRecovery@austin.utexas.edu.
Resource Recovery has events coming up to celebrate Earth Month 2019. See the newsletter calendar for more details. Sign up for both via GivePulse:
April 5 Building Waste Audit