Greek life goes green at UNC Chapel Hill

| February 4, 2014

Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) was the first fraternity at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Perhaps it’s fitting, then, that these Greek life pioneers are also green pioneers.

Will Greek life become synonymous with living a green life? From Gypsy Saskia.

Will Greek life become synonymous with living a green life? From Gypsy Saskia.

DKE landed a recent feature by Trent Hollandsworth in The Daily Tarheel lauding their recycling efforts.

Hollandsworth reports that in the 2013 fall semester, “all of the fraternities on big frat court” managed to produce a combined total of 32 bins of recycling products. DKE alone recycled 52 bins. I know — I thought it was a typo as well. This one fraternity house nearly doubled what everyone else managed together.

While the 67 brothers of DKE certainly deserve some credit for their efforts, Hollandsworth hands most of the recognition to Meg Miller, DKE’s head cook and house manager.

Miller used to be the only recycler in the house. That was 10 years ago when DKE first started recycling. She has made it her mission to ensure that she’s not the only one in the house now.

“They are more helpful than they used to be,” she said, saying that she used to “go behind them to recycle.”

Her efforts have received a boost from the City of Chapel Hill, which moved to a system with all-purpose, rolling recycling bins that make recycling easier and more efficient.

DKE is filling those bins at a breakneck pace — even without the inclusion of aluminum cans, “which Miller gives to a homeless man.”

The increased recycling efforts have resulted in a significant reduction in trash production. While DKE used to fill two dumpsters of trash per week, they now only produce one-third of that amount.

For Miller, recycling is just the start. She also “uses refillable bottles for condiments and donates oil from the kitchen to a local company that produces biodiesel.” Her next project? She wants to do away with Styrofoam trays in fraternity dining rooms, replacing them with “sustainable go-to trays.”

Here’s hoping that Miller and DKE’s efforts are contagious and that all the Tarheels start thinking green.

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Category: Recycling programs

About the Author ()

Ellen Hunter Gans has been writing for RecycleReminders since the blog’s inception. She is passionate about words, new media and, of course, recycling.

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