HU Celebrates America Recycles Day Nov. 15

Jorden Grimm

Jorden Grimm

Las Vegas, NM — The New Mexico Highlands University Recycling Center is holding its second annual America Recycles Day celebration Nov. 15 at 10 a.m. in partnership with the City of Las Vegas.

The university’s recycling center is at 9th and Raynolds, west of the university’s Wilson Complex and behind the tennis courts parking lot.

“This will be a fun and educational event that promotes responsible recycling in our community, with a focus on youth,” said Jorden Grimm, the university’s capital projects and operations manager in Facility Services. “Our recycling team sponsors these kind of events so we can promote environmental responsibility, and a better quality of life locally and globally.”

The university invited all Las Vegas elementary and middle schools to participate in a recycleathon challenge to see who can collect the most plastics with the #1 recycling code, like water bottles and milk cartons. On Nov. 14, the university and its volunteers will pick up the plastic, and haul it to the recycling center.

One class from each participating school will earn a pizza party at their school, with the winners announced at 10 a.m. Then, the classes who attend the celebration will help with a Gallinas river walk cleanup, with prizes like gift certificates hidden in recyclable water bottles.

Highlands University students from the conservation, forestry and chemistry clubs will be working with the school youth and bringing them home-baked treats.

“We’re talking to the kids when they’re young so that recycling will become a lifelong habit for them,” said Abie Ulibarri, the university’s recycling coordinator. “The recycling center is getting more and more requests from schools for field trips and tours. It’s encouraging.”

Grimm said plastics #1 was selected for the school recycleathon because according to the EPA, we generate 31 million tons of this kind of plastic annually in the United States. Of that, only 8 percent, or 2.5 million tons, is recycled.

Grimm said an important new development at the recycling center is that it now accepts plastics coded 1 through 7, rather than just plastics 1 and 2. The center also accepts aluminum, mixed paper, cardboard, glass and tin.

For the recycling celebration, the City of Las Vegas will provide a dumpster to recycle most electronic equipment like personal computers and monitors, flat-screened TVs, VCR players, and microwaves.

Since the university built and opened its recycling center to the community in November 2010, it has received heavy use and the demand continues to grow.

This spring, the university purchased a baler to process the recyclables more efficiently and save on hauling costs. In 28 weeks, the baler has helped the university process 108 bales of revenue-producing recyclable materials. Each bale weighs about a 1,000 pounds, or half a ton.

“Highlands University is grateful for the community’s use and support of the recycling center, which helps keep our program going,” said Frank Branch, custodial and recycling manager.

Sponsors for the university’s recycling celebration include Southwest Capital Bank, Franken Construction, New Mexico Auto Wholesalers, Price’s Home Furnishings, Parson’s Lawn & Landscaping, Corner Cuts, the United World College — USA,  and other community members. The Highlands University Foundation is also a sponsor.

People with questions about the Nov. 15 recycling celebration may contact Grimm at jjgrimm@nmhu.eduor 505-454-3491. Also contact Grimm if you are interested in donating to the university’s recycling program or volunteering at the center. For general recycling questions, call Ulibarri at 505-429-0338.

The university’s recycling center is open from 8 a.m. — 3:30 p.m. Monday — Friday. It does not accept items like stoves, refrigerators, mattresses, tires, electronics, batteries, motor oil or paint.