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UCLA Magazine Fall 2003
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Fall 2003
It’s Not Easy Being Green
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It’s Not Easy Being GreenWith a daily population of more than 60,000 people, UCLA indeed is a small city, and it produces as much solid waste as one. But through a focused effort, the campus recycles more than half of what it generates

By Judy Lin-Eftekhar
Illustration by Daniel Bejar

At 7:30 in the morning, a time of day when many students in the residence halls just up the slope are still snoozing in bed, Sam Nunez and Greg Frank are giving two-and-a-half tons of discarded white paper the heave-ho. The pair — staff members with the Facilities Management Department — stand in the back of their flatbed truck parked in the campus dump nicknamed The Blue Goose, heaving bags of crumpled, torn and shredded white paper into a huge recycling bin. The hundreds of clear plastic bags shimmer in the early sun.

Then Nunez and Frank rev up the engine and start all over again, making their rounds among the 600 or so white-paper recycling containers planted from one end of campus to the other, from offices to classrooms to research labs to hospital wards. By 3:30 p.m., the back of their truck will again be piled high. The job is a tough one — in a single day the pair will cover several miles on foot and put in hours of heavy lifting — but “it’s really important,” Nunez asserts. “We’re running out of forests.”

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