The Western University of Health Sciences campus is expanding, but students and employees want its carbon footprint to shrink.

Green recycling bins have been placed throughout the WesternU campus with the goal of becoming a zero-waste university. The Mission Recycling bins will take most recyclables, such as cans, bottles and newspapers. Some of the older trash cans will be labeled “Wet Waste Only” for wet disposal such as leftover food, which should not be mixed with recyclables. Recycle boxes will be placed by copiers and printers to encourage white paper recycling.

A “cardboard” recycle bin will be placed in a central location on campus. Notify Facilities by e-mail when you need cardboard placed in the central bin. Mission Recycling has also implemented the e-waste program for the university. This is on a call-and-pickup basis and must be done by sending an e-mail to Facilities for a pickup.

“This is going to be a learning process for all of us,” said WesternU Facilities Operations Manager Earlene Carter.

Carter heads the University Green Campus Initiative Team, which includes students from various WesternU programs. Maria Barrell, DO ’10, who was among the driving forces of the green initiative, said recycling is important to most students, and maintaining a recycling program requires harnessing everyone’s energy.

“There is a lot of interest year to year from students, but then they would leave and that energy would be lost again,” she said. “It’s a matter of creating something more permanent that would stay when the person left.”

As future health care professionals, WesternU students must understand their impact on the community, Barrell said.

College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) students recognized this impact when they held guest lectures that filled a 250-seat hall – and the garbage cans would be filled with soda cans and plastic bottles, said Alice D’Amore, DVM ’11.

“We were contributing to the problem of not recycling,” D’Amore said. “We need to be community conscious and work to minimize our carbon footprint. I believe we can make a huge impact.”

Also, many CVM students spend 10 to 12 hours in Problem Based Learning (PBL) classrooms, eating several meals a day there. Melissa Krause, DVM ’12, donated money to buy recycle bins for each PBL classroom. Students voluntarily empty the smaller bins into the larger recycle bins.

“Everything we do, we leave a footprint,” she said. “It’s important we take care of our natural resources.”

WesternU students are leaders in their field and in the community, and she has no doubt that students will continue to recycle, Krause said.

“It’s a matter of small little changes,” she said. “It feels good to do the right thing.”

University Green Campus Initiative Team

Earlene Carter – Facilities Operations Manager

Maria Barrell, DO ’10

Alice D’Amore, DVM ’11

Teresa Corbala, PharmD ’11

Walter Grenell, DO ’12

Sarah Harms, DO ’11

Brianna Henry, PA ’10

Poonam Maru, DO ’11

For more information about Mission Recycling, visit the Web site www.missionrecycling.com.