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Turning Chip Bags to Dining Dollars

Amanda Bernoccochips

The LIU Post Recycling Program began a new initiative to improve recycling on campus. Students can enter a raffle to win $200 dining dollars by recycling chips bags, which are not traditionally recyclable.

Aramark, LIU Post’s dining services, sponsors the raffle. Students may use dining dollars at the Hillwood Café, Starbucks, Subway and other food places around campus.

All students or faculty members with or without meal plans may also win the $200 dining dollars. The money will be credited to the winner’s account and will act as a free meal plan. The contest will end in March and the winner will be drawn from the raffle in April. There will be only one winner.

“By the end of the semester dining dollars are almost gone, so the person that wins will have a lot of money to eat for the rest of the semester,” said Billy Achnitz, Enviornmental Sustainability graduate student and coordinator of the campus recycling program, which is designed to help Post reduce waste by promoting recycling throughout campus.

To enter the raffle you must have a punch card found near the cashier registers in Hillwood Café and the Information Desk in Hillwood Commons. Participants will get a punch for every bag of chips they donate to the Information Desk in Hillwood Commons. For every 20 punches a person receives on the card, their name is entered into the raffle once.

For the chip bag initiative, the recycling program teamed up with Terracycle, a Trenton, New Jersey company that collects non-recyclable items and converts it into new products such as binders, notebooks and even park benches.

According to Achnitz, Terracycle donates two cents per chip bag to Post. The donated money goes into a scholarship fund ran by the recycling program that students from any major can apply for. The program expects to raise $1,000 for the scholarship. Since the initiative began, the program has raised about $70 so far.

“Hopefully through the raffle that we are doing we can increase the number [of donated chip bags] and get some more money donated from Terracycle,” said Achnitz.

The focus of the recycling program has been the traditional recycling of plastics, cans and papers. This is the third year that the Recycling Program has been working with Terracycle; however, it has only been a side project until recently.

The program has also added 20 new Dasani bottle bins around campus in almost every building, which cost $1,000 each. The Dasani bottle bins are in the shape of a water bottle that reads, “Please Recycle Bottles and Cans Here,” with a large recycling symbol. Any beverage containers can be recycled in those containers. The recycling bins were donated to the University by the Coca-Cola/Keep America Beautiful Recycling Bin Grant Program, which supports recycling on college campuses by providing the bins for the collection of beverage container recyclables.

To receive the grant, the college must apply and prove to the company how they will try to promote recycling on campus.

“I recycle when I can find the bottle things [Dasani bottle bins] or paper garbages, but they’re missing sometimes,” said Taylor Inesta, freshman Music Education major. She is a commuter student who spends much of her time in the Fine Arts Center, Kahn Discovery Center, Humanities and Hillwood Commons.

The Dasani bottle bins can be found in Hillwood, the library, Pell Hall, Kahn Discovery Hall, the Pratt Center, Lorber Hall and the Fine Arts Building. Traditional recycling bins are in every building as well.

Achnitz said that recycling bins are typically found in the lobby on the first floor of buildings on campus. Bins are placed in areas where students will gather with a lot of cans. In the Residence Halls, no glass is collected because it can be a safety hazard for the student workers who have to empty the bins. The student workers are Environmental Assistants who empty and collect recycled items from the bins monthly and bring them to be recycled. The Recycling Program hires them.

Alex Couto, freshman Chemistry major, feels that it is hard to recycle on campus. Although he saves his water bottles with the best intentions, it is difficult for him to find recycling bins. “I just end up throwing them all away,” he said.

Achnitz hopes that through the chip bag initiative, the added recycling bins and the other programs the Recycling Program are currently developing, the club will help Post reach its goal of having the least amount of waste on campus.

For more information about Post’s Recycling Program, visit

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