The University of Nebraska-Lincoln does not recycle glass but that did not stop students in Management 311: Leadership, Communications and Teams from making it the focus of their class project this semester. The group, which went by the name “Kicking Glass,” collected 59 pounds of clear glass, 44 pounds of brown glass and 12 pounds of green and blue glass over three days at the end of November in the Nebraska Union.
“We all came together as a group based on our passion for recycling,” said Darian Eikenhorst, a senior business administration major from Utica, Nebraska. “We all recycle in our daily lives and it’s important to us.”
Eikenhorst found out recycling glass at UNL was more difficult than she expected.
“We had a goal to get UNL to change their policy with regard to recycling glass, but they told us their budget at UNL Recycling isn’t large enough and you don’t make enough money off glass to make it worthwhile,” she said.
"Kicking Glass" team present their group results in class
The group decided to take matters into their own hands by recycling glass themselves. They also pitched in on collaborative projects like Go Green for Big Red, where they raised awareness for recycling by passing out green recycling bags on a football game day.
Initially, they wanted to place large bins on campus where people could deposit used glass containers but they found it was against policy to leave bins unattended. That meant they had to target their collection efforts within periods arranged around their personal schedules.
Bruce Fells, a senior business administration student from Palmyra, Nebraska, explained that while things did not always go smoothly, the value of recycling glass made it all worthwhile.
“Plastic bottles can only be recycled one time as a plastic beverage container,” Fells said. “Glass containers can be recycled continuously. One of the great advantages of recycling glass is it can be used as a glass container over and over again. There’s no degradation in the process.”
Ultimately, protecting the natural environment became his primary goal.
“For every six tons of glass recycled, one ton of carbon dioxide emission is reduced. Recycling glass is one way people can help with global warming,” Fells said.
The class was taught by Colleen Jones, associate professor of practice of management, who had the group conclude their project with a class presentation outlining the difficulties and positive outcomes they experienced.