The University of Rochester has been given an Environmental Leadership Award by the Rochester Business Journal (RBJ) for its recycling programs. The RBJ recognized nine local businesses with leadership awards in four categories: long-term commitment, pollution prevention, recycle/reuse, and resource reduction. The University was selected along with Hammer Packaging Corp. in the recycle/reuse category. The honorees were announced in the newspaper's Tuesday, April 13, issue.
"The University has really made an effort in the last few years to increase recycling and reduce our collective carbon footprint," said Amy Kadrie, the University's recycling coordinator who accepted the award on behalf of the University. "It's an honor to be recognized for the work we've done."
Kadrie is responsible for recycling initiatives at the River Campus, Eastman School of Music, and the Medical Center. Last spring, Kadrie also kicked off a sneaker drive during the University's annual Earth Day event and has placed collection bins at the Goergen Athletic Center. The University has donated more than 200 pairs of sneakers to date, which are sent to Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe program. The company grinds up the different parts of the shoe, recycling them into material used in playgrounds, track, turf, and even jerseys. As a member of the Global Sports Alliance, the athletic department strives to use more sustainable methods in athletics, and recently tapped Kadrie to come up with an alternative to disposing of used handballs. After researching several options, Kadrie helped the athletic department donate the hand balls to Lollypop Farm, where they'll be used as play toys for the shelter's animals.
As a result of the University's efforts, recycling on campus has increased more than 15 percent from 2007 to 2009. Kadrie credits this in part to the additional bins across campus as well as a more educated community. Since her arrival in 2008, Kadrie has fielded hundreds of questions and comments from members of the University community about sustainability efforts.
"It helps to have someone as a point of contact that people can pose questions or offer ideas to," she explains. "There are so many little things we can do at the University in terms of recycling and sustainability efforts and all of these small steps can result in a big impact."