Grant lets NIU recycle plastic cartons

By Lynn Kallal

Through a $5,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Energy and Natural Resources, the NIU Student Association Recycling Station will be able to recycle non-biodegradable plastic milk cartons.

Because of the problem with overflowing landfills, the state has been promoting a new recycling program, said Brian Powers, assistant recycling director. “Our recycling center got together with five or six other centers in the state to make a proposal for a new (recycling) program. Our proposal was for a plastic grinder,” he said.

“We are excited about recycling plastic milk cartons because unlike paper, plastic is non-biodegradable and stays in the environment indefinitely,” said Sandy Delery, SA recycling director.

Although the station received confirmation they would get the grant in January, they have had a hard time getting the machine. “We thought we were going to have the grinder a month ago,” Powers said. “At first we were told we would have to pay shipping charges and go to Chicago to pick it up. But because of the delay in the shipping of the machine, it will be delivered to us at NIU, and we won’t have to pay the charges.”

The grinder will arrive on April 20, and the station will be starting an ad campaign to encourage students to bring their empty milk cartons. “At first, we will only be accepting plastic milk cartons with the hope of expanding into other types of plastic at a later date,” Delery said.

Currently, only newspaper, computer paper, aluminum and glass are accepted. The station, located west of Stevenson Towers South off Stadium Drive, has a paper drive on the first Saturday of every month. Last month they collected 20 tons of paper.