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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 12, 2007

UI to host POP recycling exhibition on America Recycles Day Nov. 15

University of Iowa students, faculty and staff will help observe America Recycles Day, Thursday, Nov. 15, with "Phasing Out Plastics" (P.O.P.), 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Hubbard Park on the UI campus. The P.O.P. exhibition is designed to show how much of the waste the UI currently sends to the landfill is recyclable.

P.O.P. will be presented cooperatively by the City of Iowa City, Iowa DNR, City Carton Recycling, East Central Iowa Council of Governments (ECICOG), UI Facilities Management and a number of other public and private agencies.

The P.O.P. exhibition will spotlight the UI's Waste Characterization Sorting Project, which is exploring ways to reduce the UI's environmental footprint by diverting UI waste from the local landfill. Last year, the UI diverted more than 22 percent of its general waste stream through recycling practices. The UI estimates that up to 80 percent of its waste stream may be recyclable.

The waste characterization project involves a group of UI students, faculty and staff working together to examine the actual composition of the UI waste stream and provide baseline data needed for planning future reduction efforts. The team will coordinate UI recycling data gathering and analysis and create a photo diary of UI waste. By identifying the amounts of key waste components, the UI can target specific recyclable products and the processes to divert them from the landfill, organizers say. Education and marketing campaigns will be created to encourage the campus community to modify disposal behavior. The project is in partnership with the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center and ECICOG.

UI Environmental Science students Tim Knab, Ben Kaplan and Rachel Nathanson, members of the UI Student Government and UI Environmental Coalition, are coordinating the project. Other student organizations pledging support for this project are the UI Public Interest Research Group, Engineers for a Sustainable World and Future Physicians for the Environment.

The project is an identified goal of the 2008-2014 Johnson County and regional ECICOG Solid Waste Comprehensive Plan.

Nationally, landfills and solid waste haulers have experienced an explosion in the quantities of plastics going to the landfill in recent years. Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles an hour. P.O.P. is the UI student marketing effort to help improve plastic recycling at Iowa.

Individuals interested in more information or volunteering for the waste characterization study can call 335-5062.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Dave Jackson, Facilities Management, 319-335-5062,; Charles S. Drum, University News Services, 319-384-0048,