As schools around the country return to business as usual, one university has begun to take a step forward in becoming more efficient. This summer, Texas Tech purchased and implemented a new foam densifier to help the school recycle polystyrene foam.
“It’s pretty easy,” Caleb Crow, unit supervisor of Energy Management and Sustainability at the Tech physical plant, said. “One person manages input while another manages output.”
The densifier turns the recycled foam into a highly viscous liquid like substance that is then poured into brick molds.
“One of these bricks can be about 37 pounds, and they’re the hottest commodity in the recycling market right now,” Melanie Tatum, manager for University Student Housing, said.
These bricks are then sold and put to good use. Each brick is worth about eleven dollars that is put into a scholarship fund for Texas Tech Students.
Collecting materials like cups, trays and packing materials has already proven to be a great decision for the school. During the move in weekend on the campus, the program collected a staggering 276 cubic yards of foam.
“If we were to lay out all the material we collected, then we’d have a slab of Styrofoam four inches thick and two football fields long,” Tatum said.
What makes the new foam recycling so helpful to the area is that the city of Lubbock does not offer polystyrene recycling to its citizens. The university has helped by offering a recycling drop off area that is open to the public 24 hours a day. Around campus there are even more places that students can recycle.
“We have recycling bins in the Student Union Building, the library, in most of the academic buildings and at the football stadium during the games,” she said. “Students just have to look.”
If you are interested in learning more about the recycling program at Texas Tech please read more here and here. If you would like to launch your own program at your school, learn how Home For Foam can help.
Nelson, Alexis. "Center collecting recyclable material" DailyToreador.com. 8 September, 2014. Web. 12 September, 2014.