Recycling helps pay it forward

Recycling cardboard, plastic, aluminum and paper does not only benefit the environment, or just the Eastern campus, but some of the physically and mentally disabled residents of Charleston and Mattoon.

Eastern sends its cardboard, paper and plastic recyclables to two businesses in Mattoon and Charleston, which then gets separated and sterilized by its residents.

Ryan Siegel, the campus energy and sustainability coordinator, said the relationship between CCar Industries and Eastern first began in the mid-90s when Eastern’s recycling program first began.

“It’s a great community benefit to provide to jobs for people with disabilities who otherwise might not have work,” Siegal said.

CCar Industries, in Charleston, receives the recycled cardboard and paper where adults with developmental disabilities sort them into different grades.

Then the company sells the finished product to other businesses, Siegal said.

“Our student employees transport the recycled materials from the buildings on campus to either CCar Industries or for the plastics they go to a holding cage,” Siegal said.

Donna Jones, a staff member at CCar Industries, is in charge of hiring students to work for the company.

“We have hired two people (this week) for the program but it varies from program to program,” Jones said.

CCar Industries also works as a home having its residents live in houses.

There are 10 houses that have four to five people living in each, Jones said.

“Having (the residents) out in the community helping is always good for them,” Jones said.

Mark Hudson, the director of University Housing and Dining Services, said the reason for the relationships was a simple, natural occurrence.

“We had a need and they had a want and we were able to come together and help them which is a good arrangement,” Hudson said.

Eastern has a 50/50 revenue sharing agreement with CCar Industries which then helps pay for the student workers that transport the recyclables, Siegal said.

The student workers hired work as trainers and work between 8 to 40 hours a week, Jones said.

“CCar Industries keeps the first $10,000 then we share 50/50 after that,” he said. “It’s payment for their labor.”

Siegal said paper currently sells for a reasonable price on the markets.

In regards to the student government’s paper recycling debate that took place during the spring semester of last year, Siegal said having a paper recycling container on every residence hall floor would be determined by University Housing.

“Anything that we can find that can reduce waste on campus will benefit both parties,” Siegal said. “Last year we recycled 1,350,901 pounds of material.”

One of the reasons paper recycling is not currently on every floor is because student workers do not have access to the residential floors, he said.

Also in the case is her award for “Advisor of the Year” that was given to her May 18, 2008, as well as various other mementos.

The other topics discussed were the upcoming Resident On Campus Festival (ROCFest) whose theme this year is “ROC the Beat!” and will take place on Sept. 12-16.

Also taking place during the same week is NRHH’s Breast Cancer Awareness Week and they will be selling t-shirts to raise money. Each t-shirt will be $9 and on sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the south quad during breast cancer awareness week. There will also be a dunk tank in the south quad to raise money. It will be $1 to throw a ball at the target or $5 to hit the target with your hand. Those in the dunk tank are considered to be prominent members of the Eastern community.

Another topic discussed was the NRHH leadership conference that will be from 8 a.m. to 4 pm. on Sept. 17. The registration for the conference will close 4 pm. on Sept. 9.

Also scheduled for RHA this year is the fall retreat from Sept. 30 through Oct. 3 that is open to any Eastern student on-campus and will be at Camp New Hope. Anyone interested in this should go to the RHA website where they can register for the retreat by Sept. 26.

Vice President, Andrew Lilek said he was excited for the new year in RHA, as well as the success of the first meeting.

“I think the meeting went really well,” he said.

Kathryn Richter can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].