Arkansas State University


Markham Howe
Sara McNeil

(870) 972-3056
fax (870) 972-3069

More information:

Links to News Releases
& Announcements

Campus Calendar
Public activities at ASU

Campus News
Faculty and Staff

About ASU
Overview, history
and more

Earth Day celebration April 22 spotlights plastic recycling project

April 16, 2008 -- As part of Arkansas State University-Jonesboro's recognition of Earth Day on Tuesday, April 22, an event will be held at the center court of the Student Union from 1 to 2 p.m. At that time, a new initiative to recycle plastic generated on the ASU campus will be announced by students and faculty from the Environmental Sciences classes. The event is free and open to the public.

According to Sheri Walls, a graduate student in the Environmental Sciences class who also serves as grants and compliance officer for the ASU Office of Research and Technology Transfer, the classes were split into groups. The groups were then given assignments such as identifying where the recycling bins would be most helpful, researching the types of plastic that can be recycled, and noting specific instructions, i.e., if caps from plastic bottles should be removed. The groups will procure the bins and attach necessary signage. The classes were told that d
ue to budgetary restrictions on campus, funds to purchase recycling bins are not available, so the students have sought donations from private businesses.

Walls said, "ASU has been recycling paper, but is just starting to recycle plastic. According to files from concessions, during the 2007 football season, over 34,000 bottles were sold at Indian Stadium. And during the 2007-2008 men's basketball games, more than 5,000 bottles and 7,000 plastic 32 oz. cups were bought."

The plan calls for 20 recycling bins to be placed around campus now, and an additional 20 to be placed at a later time.

This year's ASU Earth Day event will kick off the plastic recycling initiative, and will include guest speakers including Ryan Beaird, president of the Student Government Association, and members of the ASU administration. Dr. Dan Howard, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Research at ASU, will be a special guest speaker. Howard participated in the first Earth Day in 1970 while a student at Manhattan College in New York. In accepting the invitation to speak, Howard said that the 1970 event had a strong buy-in by the campus community in which many positive projects were spun off, including picking up litter and recycling bottles found in a nearby park.

Dr. Jennifer Bouldin, assistant research professor and director of ASU's Ecotoxicology Research Facility, challenged the students to calculate how much recyclable plastic is normally generated by a community the size of ASU, based on the Jonesboro campus population. The students reported that in 2007, it was calculated that a single individual consumed 30.2 gallons of bottled water that year. Campus enrollment stands at more than 10,000 students, plus about 1,800 faculty and staff. Based on those numbers, the students estimate they can collect as many as 2 million plastic 20-ounce bottles in an average year. (Earth Policy Institute information on individual consumption of bottled water can be found here.)

According to Dr. Bouldin, ASU is part of Focus the Nation, an initiative that challenges schools to become involved in environmental actions. Past Earth Day activities at ASU include assisting with community projects at Craighead Forest Park and the Forrest L. Wood Crowley's Ridge Nature Center. Activities have included tree planting, trail work, flower bed preparation, painting, clean-up and camping area improvements.

According to the official Earth Day website, the first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970. Today it is an annual event for people around the world to celebrate the earth and renew their commitment to building a healthier and cleaner world.



  NewsPage:  |  Back to TOP  |