UM gets a bit more green

To those that have noticed the huge green dumpsters behind the Mahoney/Pearson and Stanford/Hecht cafeterias: don’t throw trash in them. They’re the new recycling containers installed in hopes that UM will finally get the ball rolling on recycling aluminum cans, plastic bottles and newspapers.

After years of failed attempts, students and faculty members are trying a new approach to make the school more environment-friendly.

According to Billy Bludgus, who spearheaded the endeavor with other student leaders, many recycling efforts in the past failed due to students mixing garbage into the recycling bins. Even if a container is 80 percent aluminum cans, just one item of garbage can cause it to be rejected by recycling plants.

To avoid misplaced garbage this time, the containers were placed behind the cafeterias, where they won’t be easily confused with dumpsters.

“The containers will be outside so that people who are really gung-ho about recycling will be able to,” Bludgus said. “You wouldn’t go out of your way to throw your garbage there, but you would go out of your way to recycle there if you’re a strong advocate.”

The containers will be clearly labeled to indicate which items are recyclable. One door on each container will be for co-mingled recyclables, which include plastic bottles and aluminum cans, and another will be for newspapers.

White paper, such as the paper used in copy machines or printers, will also be recycled in the UC starting this week, where organization offices will each have a small box that can later be emptied into a larger recycling container at the end of each week.

A total of 14 offices on the second floor of the UC have committed to recycling white paper, and Bludgus said the larger container will probably be located in the back hallway near the SpectrUM office.

The installation of the bins behind the residential buildings as well as the one in the UC marks the success of two important projects in one week. Bludgus and other students have been trying to get recycling bins on campus since last spring, along with the help of faculty members Dr. Robert Redick, director of residence halls, Jorge Garcia, coordinator of contract administration, and Alan Weber, associate director of facilities administration.

“They’ve been invaluable in this project and very willing to work with us,” Bludgus said.

Among the obstacles that they faced were the permits that the City of Coral Gables required in order to bring the recycling containers on campus, as well as some drilling that had to be done in order to install them.

A ceremony last Thursday inaugurated the new containers. Each will hold about 20 cubic yards of recyclable material.

Natalia Maldonado can be contacted at