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UConn vs. Butler: The Recycling Final Two

April 3, 2011

Update: Congratulations to the Huskies for winning their third national championship tonight (Monday, April 4) over Butler.

UConn and Butler are in the men’s NCAA National Championship game Monday night. Both are excellent basketball teams. But how do those schools match up where recycling is concerned? The University of Connecticut is a large school located in Storrs, Connecticut – closer to Boston than New York. Butler is what’s called a “mid-major” – a small school located just outside Indianapolis, Indiana.


The University of Connecticut has an Office of Environmental Policy that offers a robust sustainability website it dubs “EcoHusky.”

A signatory of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, UConn does a great job of  promoting Green Campus Initiatives. There’s a Climate Action Plan, Earth Day “Spring Fling” program, 5K Road Race and even has a Campus Sustainability Fund that you can donate to.

Since RecycleMac is all about recycling (yes – with a Macintosh focus) I headed over to their Recycling Program website.  The university uses an outside vendor – Williwaste – to handle its single-stream paper recycling program. For electronic waste, the campus has a number of e-waste recycling collection points. Here’s what they say:

There are several laws governing the proper disposal of e-waste all over the country. Specifically in Connecticut, Governor Jodi Rell signed a law in July 2007 mandating manufacturers to provide consumers with recycling options for the televisions, computers, and monitors.

UConn faculty & staff are able to recycle state-purchased e-waste items through programs with their respective suppliers.

Students, faculty & staff are able to recycle all personal e-waste through the Office of Environmental Policy’s partnership with the recycling company “Think Recycle“. Think Recycle ensures that the waste is recycled appropriately and reimburses UConn for some of the materials we send. This money goes directly into The Campus Sustainability Fund to help support green initiatives on campus!

I counted a total of 15 locations around campus where you can recycle e-waste – including computers. Here are some photos from their website:


ButlerBlueGreen LogoButler University has a much smaller student body than UConn (3600 students vs. 28,000 +) but that doesn’t mean they aren’t as passionate about recycling. Information is centered on the “Butler Goes Green” website. Butler has participated in RecycleMania, for instance for the last three years. RecycleMania is a nation-wide competition between 605 colleges and university (this year) to see who can recycle the most.

Like UConn, Butler uses a “single stream” system to recycle – that is, one can for all paper products. There are more than 90 recycling stations all over campus – with three bins for paper, glass and cans, and trash. ABITIBI-Bowater (one of the largest recyclers of paper materials in North America) maintains bins in six campus parking lots where the paper waste is dumped and pays the university for the paper. The “Butler Goes Green” website says the money is recycled back into various ECO-related events and projects.

But what about electronics, you ask? Here’s what they say:

Paper bins at the Butler University campus.All usable, older computers, printers and monitors are recycled thru being sold at Christy’s Auction House, which generates revenues back to the Butler general fund. This is both an efficient and cost-effective way to handle the older computer equipment. Laptop, tablet batteries and cabling are also recycled thru the Service Center.

University empty toner cartridges are recycled by Office Max through the University’s Purchasing Services Department located in the basement of Holcomb Building. The cartridges also may be recycled at the time of your supplies delivery by returning them to the Office Max driver.


Both schools and their communities are winners in this case because they are both embracing recycling throughout their communities and working hard to get their student bodies involved through a number of creative programs and projects. UConn is able to embrace a much broader program simply because of its size but it’s clear that Butler – through programs like “ECO Dawgs” “a committee dedicated to promoting the campus community’s wise use of our planet’s resources” – is working to have an impact as well.

May the best team win on the court. But in Storrs and Indianapolis, both schools are already taking leadership roles in the arena of sustainability.

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