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Current green initiatives

Aluminum Cans

What we’ doing now - Recycling cans
  • The average employee consumes 2.5 beverages each day while at work
  • Tossing away an aluminum can wastes as much energy as pouring out half of that can's volume of gasoline
  • Discovered in the 1820s, aluminum is the most abundant metal on earth
  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to keep a 100-watt bulb burning for almost four hours or run your television for three hours
  • An aluminum can that is thrown away will remain recognizable as a can for 500 years
  • The 36 billion cans thrown away in 2010 would have been worth $600 million

What we're doing – Recycling cans

The Columbia College Relay for Life team recently added a "Crush CANcer" campaign to their fundraising efforts. The team hopes to reach its 10-year goal of $100,000 in the fight against cancer soon. All campus users are encouraged to drop off empty aluminum cans each Friday at 5 p.m. at the parking lot on the corner of 10th and Rogers Streets on campus; members of the team are on hand to crush the cans. In one week, the team was able to fill four bags with crushed aluminum. This is no token green effort; recycling aluminum cans saves 95 percent of the energy used to make aluminum cans from virgin ore.

What we’ doing now - Recycling paper


  • The American Forest and Paper Association says paper manufacturing is the largest industrial user of water per pound of finished product
  • The average American uses 9 trees (750 pounds) worth or paper per year
  • 115 billion sheets of paper are used annually for personal computers
  • Approximately one billion trees' worth of paper is thrown away annually
  • The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations says it is estimated that paper consumption will rise by 50% by 2010
  • In 2007, approximately 56% of consumed paper was recovered for recycling, ammounting to 360 pounds of paper for every person in America
  • Recycled paper can be made into paper towels, envelopes, copy paper, and other paper products, including boxes and even kitty litter

What we're doing – Recycling paper

Who's that coming down the hallways with a big smile and a gigantic wheeled trash container? It's Phyllis Grant, payroll manager, who has been collecting paper recycling for 20 years. And this container is heavy! Every classroom on campus boasts its own recycling bin for student and faculty use. Once collected, paper is then picked up by a recycling company. Everyone who pitches paper into the blue - not black - bins save more than money: they save forests and water. It's estimated that making a ton of paper from recycled stock saves up to 17 trees and uses 50 percent less water.

Phyllis Grant