The source for updates on campus environmental initiatives, events, and action.

(Courtesy of the New York Times Online)

Maldives Article about Drastic Action for Carbon Attention

Who's up for buying wetsuits and getting in on the action?

Too often, people throw away their old electronics because they just don't know what else to do with them. Most devices, however, contain of harmful chemicals, like lead or mercury--about 70% of the toxic waste that makes it to landfills is from electronics (yikes!).

There are some companies, however, that make it extremely easy to recycle your old electronics, and even pay you for it! Check out the programs listed below, and use one the next time you get a new phone or computer. (And don't forget that you can recycle small electronics in the recycling center in the lobby of Lerner, or donate your old phone to an organization like the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.)

Here are the Lazy Environmentalist's top 3 recommendations for recycling companies that will pay for your used electronics.

One Note: All of these companies provide free shipping to their facilities. The best is which sends you a postage paid box in which to ship your items. Second best is which provides you with a prepaid shipping label. Third best is which reimburses you for your shipping expenses, $5 for the first item and $2 for additional items in the same package. - Send Gazelle your used cell phones, digital cameras, MP3 players, laptops, GPS units, camcorders, gaming consoles, iPhones and more, and the company will you pay you for them. Where possible Gazelle refurbishes them and makes them available to its partners for resale. It's possible to get great deals on refurbished at items at major retailers like Target thanks to Gazelle. - is on a mission to recycle used, new, and broken electronics. To make it worthwhile, the company pays you for them within 48 hours of receiving them. Send founder Brett Mosley and his team your old cell phones, cameras, game consoles, camcorders, and iPods, and they'll send you cash. - You don't have to sell your soul to prevent global warming, but you can certainly "sell your cell." Visit to find out how much your used cell phone is worth and then print the free postage label and mail your phone to the company. Once receives and verifies its condition, the company will cut you a check.

Environmental awareness shouldn't be the plight and passion of an esoteric group on campus -- it is fundamentally more universal than that. That is why the fostering of partnerships with other groups and communities around campus is an exciting development!

Your daily dose of excitement, then is this: yesterday the EcoReps received an email from the producers of Columbia Musical Theater Society's production of The Secret Garden who are "very interested in developing [the] environmental themes [of the show] for the audience by partnering with another group on campus to highlight the relevance of these issues today, in causes like global warming, sustainable development, and community gardening." The show, which goes up in December in Roone , is based on the story by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and explores the idea of human duty to protect nature.

This December, Columbia Musical Theatre Society will present The Secret Garden in Roone Arledge Auditorium. We would love to work with CU Eco Reps to collaborate on how to enhance the environmental themes of the show.

The producers have suggested that the EcoReps work with CMTS to develop a joint programming/marketing strategy that connects the values and themes of The Secret Garden with the present reality of the situation.

The union is still in talks, but this marks a landmark communication between the EcoReps and non-
environmental groups! Here's to the trend catching on.

                                                           Image courtesty of Golden West College Theater

Today a daily editor of Bwog contacted the EcoReps asking for clarification of the Columbia recycling program, after which it occurred to me that it might be a source of confusion for many. The Columbia University program is different from both the city guidelines and the Barnard College system, so things can get a little messy -literally and figuratively - unless you know the rules.

This information can all be found on the Office of Environmental Stewardship's website, but it seems worth reiterating here.

Paper and Cardboard 

  • White, colored and glossy paper (Staples OK, but not spiral bindings.)
  • Mail and envelopes
  • Wrapping paper (Remove ribbon and tape.)
  • Smooth cardboard (Shoe boxes, tubes from paper towel and toilet paper rolls, cardboard from product packaging. For food boxes, remove inside and outside plastic wrappers.)
  • Paper bags
  • Cardboard egg cartons and trays
  • Newspapers, magazines and catalogs
  • Phone books, soft-cover books (Paperbacks, comic books, etc.)  
  • Corrugated cardboard (If flattened boxes are large, place them next to the recycling bin.) 
Bottles and Cans

  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Metal cans (Tuna cans, empty aerosol cans, empty and dried-out paint cans with lids removed, for example.)
  • Aluminum foil wrap and trays
  • Household metal (Wire coat hangers, pots, pans, for example.)
  • Plastic bottles and jugs
  • Beverage cartons and drink boxes (Milk and juice.)
Electronics/Batteries can be recycled at the Lerner Electronics drop-off on the First Floor of Lerner across from the main desk. 

One of the tools being utilized this year is delegation - splitting up responsibility for projects among the themed committees of water issues, dining hall and food issues, solid waste and recycling issues, and energy and efficiency issues.

Over plates of cheese and bread, we split into our respective committees at Friday's meeting (the second of the year) to discuss more focused goals. In the solid waste and recycling issue committee, newcomer Ellen Ward talked about Concordia University, which has a student group that rents out reusable sets of plates and silverware to student groups hosting events. It is a creative solution to the plastic and styrofoam nightmares of the past, and something that could be easily implemented. Compliments to Ellen for bringing it to the table!

EcoReps meets at 5 pm in JJ's Place underneath John Jay dorm. Please come! There will always be food and conversation.

-posted by Elizabeth Kipp-Giusti

Welcome to the new and improved EcoReps blog!
Glad you arrived.

In the 2009-2010 academic year, we have renewed and reinvested our efforts to produce a daily update of the many projects and ideas in the works within the Columbia community.

What does this mean?
You guessed it...

This will be the best source to keep updated about what is going on around campus.
If something catches your eye, email us and get involved.

Here's to a new year. This is going to be big.

This year the students are taking action on their campuses with unprecedented energy and ubiquity. National movements from recycling competitions (Recyclemania) to policy statements (President's Climate Committment) are swelling to a healthy ripeness. Our cafeterias are getting greener and our energy is getting cleaner. For a handy list of ideas coming from the most succesful campaigns on campuses, check out this list from the lovely Leo DiCaprio--

--Patty Rojas and Ariel Zucker,
EcoReps for Hartley and the Brownstones, respectively