Recycling events on tap for Thursday

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By Margaret McKinney
Highlands University

The New Mexico Highlands University Recycling Center is holding its second annual America Recycles Day celebration in partnership with the city of Las Vegas at 10 a.m. this Thursday.

The university’s recycling center is at Ninth and Raynolds, west of the university’s Wilson Complex and behind the tennis courts parking lot.

“This will be a fun and educational event that promotes responsible recycling in our community, with a focus on youth,” said Jorden Grimm, the university’s capital projects and operations manager in Facility Services.

The university invited all Las Vegas elementary and middle schools to participate in a recycleathon challenge to see who can collect the most plastics with the #1 recycling code, like water bottles and milk cartons. The university and its volunteers will pick up the plastic today and haul it to the recycling center.

One class from each participating school will earn a pizza party at their school. The classes attending the celebration will help with a Gallinas river walk cleanup, with prizes like gift certificates hidden in recyclable water bottles.

Highlands University students from the conservation, forestry and chemistry clubs will be working with the school youth and bringing them home-baked treats.

“We’re talking to the kids when they’re young so that recycling will become a lifelong habit for them,” said Abie Ulibarri, the university’s recycling coordinator.

Grimm said plastics #1 was selected for the school recycleathon because according to the EPA, we generate 31 million tons of this kind of plastic annually in the United States. Of that, only 8 percent, or 2.5 million tons, is recycled.

Grimm said an important new development at the recycling center is that it now accepts plastics coded 1 through 7, rather than just plastics 1 and 2. The center also accepts aluminum, mixed paper, cardboard, glass and tin.

For the recycling celebration, the city of Las Vegas will provide a dumpster to recycle most electronic equipment like personal computers and monitors, flat-screened TVs, VCR players, and microwaves.

Sponsors for the university’s recycling celebration include Southwest Capital Bank, Franken Construction, New Mexico Auto Wholesalers, Price’s Home Furnishings, Parson’s Lawn & Landscaping, Corner Cuts, the United World College ­— USA,  and other community members. The Highlands University Foundation is also a sponsor.

People with questions about Thursday’s recycling celebration may contact Grimm at jjgrimm@nmhu.eduor 505-454-3491.

The university’s recycling center is open from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. It does not accept items like stoves, refrigerators, mattresses, tires, electronics, batteries, motor oil or paint.