UT Martin self-sort recycling station

UT Martin Recycling Facility requests community assistance

MARTIN, Tenn. – A new self-sort station is available at the University of Tennessee at Martin Recycling Facility, thanks to a 2017 Giving Circle Grant from the University of Tennessee Alliance of Women Philanthropists. Community members are asked to use this station to sort recyclable materials as they are delivered.

According to Mike Davis, facility manager, the Recycling Facility once employed four full-time staff members and close to 20 student workers. However, the facility is now only staffed by two full-time workers, a part-time employee and two student assistants. Because of these changes, community members are asked to self-sort materials in order to keep the recycling process efficient and costs low. Davis says the facility is charged a penalty fee when a vendor must sort recyclables.

“We used to have more volunteers … and now we’re just low on help. Meanwhile, the volume of recycling has expanded, thanks to campus and community involvement,” said Dr. Angie MacKewn, co-sponsor of the UTM Recycles! program. According to annual records, the Recycling Facility recycled approximately 182 tons of cardboard, 45 tons of mixed office paper, 17 tons of various plastics and almost two tons of aluminum beverage containers in 2017.

The Recycling Facility currently accepts plastic materials with either a number one or a number two inside the recycling symbol. These include clear plastics, colored plastics, opaque plastics such as milk jugs, and grocery bags, which must all be sorted separately. The facility also accepts both aluminum and steel cans, paper, cardboard, scrap metal, ink cartridges and books.

All items must be rinsed and delivered with the lids taken off and discarded. Items should also be sorted loose. Items in bags cannot be inserted into the recycling equipment; items with lids cannot be crushed effectively; and items that are unrinsed attract rodents and other unwanted animals to the site.

The Recycling Facility currently cannot accept aerosol or pressurized cans, paint cans, Styrofoam, clothing, glass, plastics not marked with a number one or number two, or any electronics. However, MacKewn, Davis and Dr. Heidi Huse, program co-sponsor, hope future grants will fund the purchase of a can condenser and a glass crusher and allow the facility to expand its list of acceptable items.

“While the changes at the Recycling Facility may require extra steps from campus and community recyclers, we are excited to see the UT Martin recycling program evolve. We hope it continues to be something the campus and community can support and be proud of,” said Huse. Huse and MacKewn are co-writers of the grant that funded construction of the new self-sort station.

The Recycling Facility, located on Moody Avenue, is open from 7 a.m.-1 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and from 3-6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The facility is closed on Sundays, holidays and any time when the university is not in operation.

For more information, contact Davis at 731-881-7640 or email UTM Recycles! at recycle@utm.edu. Program information is also available on the UTM Recycles! Facebook page.



PHOTO ID: A new self-sorting station is available outside the UT Martin Recycling Facility on Moody Avenue. Built with funds from a 2017 Giving Circle Grant from the University of Tennessee Alliance of Women Philanthropists, the station allows facility patrons to divide recyclable materials into appropriately labeled bins and help keep facility costs low.


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