With Amazon Prime delivering directly to campus, students naturally order packages daily. However, what happens after they receive their packages is concerning. Packaging adds millions of tons of non-biodegradable waste to landfills each year. Students can do their part to help lessen this amount.
Our on-campus post office provides a solution. Located next to RUPD, the post office collects boxes, packing peanuts, bubble wrap, and air pillows for students and faculty to use for free. These items come from all over campus. Head of Delivery Services Ute Franklin is known as “the dumpster diving queen.” She often tries to save any boxes or materials thrown into dumpsters and will drive around campus to save them. Her supplies sometimes run low, forcing her to really search on campus.
Luckily, everyone can do their part to help keep Franklin out of the dumpster. Will Rice College Coordinator Joyce Courtois has started asking her students to recycle boxes and packaged envelopes. Delivery Services will then take the names off the packages and reuse them. Franklin would appreciate if more college coordinators helped out, reducing more waste.
The Facilities Engineering and Planning (FE&P) Department collects cardboard for recycling at Rice, and much of that cardboard ends up in a compactor before it is hauled away by Waste Management. However, Franklin is known to intercept FE&P personnel who are bringing the boxes to the compactor, compelling them to give her the boxes that are sturdy enough to be reused. She aims to collect boxes of all different shapes and sizes for reuse by Delivery Services customers.
“We only keep the clean boxes,” Franklin said. “We don’t want any symbols that mean chemicals or refrigerate.”
When it comes time to pack up your things and move out or to send a package, head down to the post office. The greater loop shuttle has a stop directly in front of the post office, so students do not even have to walk to take advantage of its great opportunities. By reusing old boxes and donating new ones, students can easily cut back on waste.