Program an innovative start

Kudos to NIU alumnus Robert Ray for helping to make the campus more environmentally sound.

Ray came up with an idea for a program that was originally given to him as a whim by his boss. But he took the program seriously and has helped to create the first household battery recycling program in the state, right here at NIU.

According to Student Association Recycling Director Rachel Vellenga, batteries are responsible for 30 to 40 percent of all heavy metals leaching into ground water from landfills. While a pickup of batteries in the residence halls once a semester isn’t going to make a huge dent in the ecological balance, it’s refreshing to see NIU start such a program before the rest of the state. It makes NIU look as if it’s a college where students are actually involved in bettering the community, in contrast to the usual perceptions of a school where the biggest environmental concern is whether or not it will be too cold to go to the bars.

The NIU plan ensures that the batteries be placed in a hazardous wasteland instead of DeKalb, where they should have been long ago. In fact, there is legislation being passed that will prohibit people from throwing away batteries with regular household garbage.

A battery recycling program might sound rather useless, but people have to look at the entire environmental picture. Every little bit helps, and everyone involved should be commended.