Center pile-up poses problem

By Karri E. Christiansen

Alarmed by possible health risks posed by the pile-up at the Student Association Recycling Center, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) called an emergency meeting with the center director.

ASSE Vice President Joe Murphy, called for the Saturday morning meeting after learning about the 100 bag back-up at the Center.

“When I first saw it with my eyes, I realized it wasn’t just a task for a few people,” Murphy said. “We need more volunteers. We’d like the whole campus to get involved,” he said.

“The chutes are all backed up,” Murphy said, “there is no room to get to them.”

Murphy said he was concerned about possible contaminants in some of the milk jugs, beer cans and bottles. Milk and alcohol residue in some of the containers could cause bacterias and mold to form when the weather gets warmer, he said.

“There are possible health concerns that I think should be taken care of,” Recycling Center Director Dave Broustis said.

“With the staff we have we’re handling the problem adequately,” Amy Ahlstrom, a center volunteer said. “I can’t see any health risks,” she said.

Ahlstrom said the pile-up would be cleaned up faster if they had more volunteers.

Five members from Murphy’s organization volunteered to help in the emergency clean-up and two recycling center employees were at the recycling center, he said.

Broustis said about five SA senators and seven to ten other students volunteered to come out, but they might not have shown up because of the bad weather. He added SA senators are not required to come out and help in the clean up.

“When it’s 30 degrees outside it’s hard to get volunteers,” he said.

Broustis also said one community service worker was scheduled to work, but that he might have “blown it off because of the weather.” He said the worker would just have to make up the time another day.

Murphy also said Broustis failed to appear but sent an assistant in his place. Broustis said he was not able to be at the center for the meeting because he was ill and John Lyons, a center employee was there to help clean up the pile.

Volunteers worked for about three or four hours and “took a pretty good chunk out of the pile,” Murphy said, adding because of poor weather conditions progress was slow.

Murphy said there was ice in, around and under the “recyclables,” and in order to sort them, the ice had to be chipped away.

“There’s so much to do, people are really trying hard to get this cleaned up,” Ahlstrom said.

The ASSE has plans to help clean up the recycling center every weekend until the pile-up is cleared, Murphy said. It should take about two weeks depending on the number of volunteers who show up to help.

Ahlstrom said the center hopes to get more volunteers next weekend.

Murphy said the area is not enclosed, but there is a large fence around the perimeter of the building and the center has sections and chutes labeled for all types of recyclables.

There is room in back, but there are no signs telling people where to put their recyclables, he said.

Broustis said students are “more than welcome” to volunteer to work on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and should call the recycling center if they are interested.