URI rolls out refurbished barrels to enhance recycling

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Effort saves URI $45,000

KINGSTON, R.I. – October 22, 2015 – What do you do with old bait and fertilizer barrels? Well, the University of Rhode Island recycles them, of course. In fact it refurbished about 100 barrels during the summer, which now clearly delineate the difference between trash and recycling receptacles.

“We were finding that the lack of consistent color-coding and signage made it difficult for people to properly recycle, especially at field and special events,” said URI’s recycling and solid waste coordinator Mary Brennan.

Plus the initiative saved URI approximately $45,000 by re-using existing containers. Sets of outdoor trash and recycling containers can cost $800 to $1,000, but URI spent less then $50 per set to refurbish them.

The Facilities Services team scrubbed, painted, drilled holes in the bottom for drainage, added handles for lifting, as well as brand new labels to the recycling barrels. The blue recycling barrels also received special new tops.

“The addition of having clearly defined colors and new labels as well as the lids make it very easy for people to recycle. I think that if people are given the choice and if recycling is easy they are going to do it. It’s going to make it that much easier for people when they have a choice of what to do with a bottle or can,” said Brennan.

Although recycling has increased nationwide by 7 percent in the past five years, about 25 percent of Americans still don’t recycle according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“We all need to work to reduce the amount of waste we generate, re-use what we can, and recycle the remainder.”

“We expect that these refurbished barrels will greatly enhance recycling rates, especially at football games and other high-profile events that are held at the University. I’m proud of all that URI has done regarding sustainability. Our students, faculty, and staff have been supportive and enthusiastic about becoming green.”

What’s next for our campus? The Facilities Services Department is now considering new labeling of the dumpsters stationed around campus. This will help make it easier for students to identify where to place trash and recycling.

Pictured Above

Recycling and solid waste laborers Dave Morgan, Mike Joyce, Derek Groves and Gil Barnes join recycling and solid waste coordinator Mary Brennan (center) as they display the new recycling and trash barrels at Meade Stadium.

URI photos by Jessica Vescera

This release was written by Caitlin Musselman, a URI Marketing and Communications intern and a public relations and political science major.