By Melanie Stewart
As systems go paperless and years-old documents are being cleaned out, one of the most common requests LiveGreen receives involves 3 ring binders. Individuals and departments have more than they know what to do with, with no new paper to put in them. This is a good thing as we continue to use less paper and the resources that goes along with printing.
But what to do with those binders?
We weren’t able to recycle them on campus, as they are a cardboard core, covered in soft plastic, with a metal ring system. Omaha’s Materials Recycling Facility, FirstStar Fiber, cannot accept an item made with multiple materials, regardless of what those materials are because there’s no way for them disassemble the item into separate materials to make recycling possible. This meant that if binders couldn’t be reused on campus, or someone wasn’t willing to find a donation location, the binders had to be thrown away.
If your department has binders that you have no use for, we can now recycle them at no cost to you. A new recycling hauler is willing to remove the metal to recycle it, and hopefully the cardboard (depending on the process/binder). This is currently our best option. If you have binders to recycle, LiveGreen will recycle them. If you have a large quantity, we’d love for you to contact us at LiveGreen@unmc.edu to arrange a time to drop them off at Annex 10. If you have a few, please reuse a supply box in your area and send them via campus mail to zip 7100. If you are not on the 42nd and Dewey campus, this still applies to you, but LiveGreen asks that you consider the resources in shipping them to us vs. recycling a few binders.
Don’t forget: if the binders are still in good shape and able to be reused, we still recommend checking to see if others can use them. They can be used to organize other small items kept in sheet protectors, or other documents, both at work and at home. List them (or anything else in good shape that you don’t need) on LiveGreen’s Supply Exchange—reducing waste and saving money. Don’t forget, if you are looking for items (that you think others on campus may have), you can list the needed items on the site as well.
Following my husband’s death, I am clearing a warehouse of 52 years of educational products including large 3-ring notebooks. Rather than take them to the dump, I’m searching for a place that might find use for them – or recycle. It pains me to think they will just contribute to a land fill. Do you still have the notebook recycling program?