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Kathy Hartle
photo by Tim Fitzgerald

Going Green on Campus: Kathy Hartle Evokes Her Recycling Charge at Work

by Becky Bohan Brown

People across campus are doing their part to help the environment through recycling. Read on to learn how Kathy Hartle, mail clerk with Mail Services, is taking her recycling of toner and ink cartridges to the next level in the first installment of "Saving Green, While Going Green at UNO."

According to statistics, the plastic from toner cartridges can take up to 1,000 years to decompose. Hartle took this fact to heart when she decided to start recycling cartridges on campus.

The Staff Advisory Council (SAC), in coordination with Mail Services, has recycled large printer toner cartridges for more than seven years. Two-thirds of the monies received go to student scholarships, and one-third goes to SAC for ongoing projects. Hartle began recycling smaller cartridges within the university over a year and a half ago because nothing was being done with those for desktop printers. She tries to make it easy and convenient for faculty and staff.

"When surplus receives smaller desktop printer cartridges to dispose of, instead of throwing them away, I post what is available in eNotes for departmental use only," Hartle said. "It's as simple as someone picking up the phone to receive a free toner cartridge."

Hartle takes the empty toner cartridges to PetSmart, where they are recycled through a program that benefits the care of rescued animals. Since 2007, she has donated 161 packs to PetSmart on behalf of the university with 10-15 toner cartridges in each. A horse owner and animal lover, she thought it was a good way for UNO to give back to the four-legged members of the community.

"I just hate waste," she said. It's the one thing I can do to make a little bit of difference."

She often finds herself poring over items given to surplus and has also recycled tapes, staples, pens and pencils, in addition to other things the mailroom can use. During the annual Salvation Army food drive, Hartle even recycled the plastic bags cans were donated in by taking them to Wal-Mart instead of throwing them away.

"When it comes to pinching pennies, I'm good," she said. "I estimate that recycling cartridges within the university has saved UNO more than $6,000."

Click on this link to view the current toner cartridges available for departmental use PDF. All are available on a first come, first served basis.

Hartle invites the campus community to join the recycling effort. Before throwing away an old toner or ink cartridge, contact her at 554.2337 to see what options are available.

"If you don't have the printer for the toner cartridges anymore, then send them to the mailroom," she said. "With the budget situation, continuing to recycle ink and toner cartridges can save the university and departments money."

note:

Are you "Saving Green, While Going Green at UNO?" If so, eNotes wants to share the news about green happenings on campus. Contact Becky Bohan Brown, assistant director of internal communications, with story suggestions at 554.2243 or rbrown@mail.unomaha.edu.

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