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Solid Green Day

Solid Green Day at Clemson UniversityClemson students, faculty and staff donned latex gloves and filled recycled plastic bags with trash for the annual Solid Green Day campaign. By raising awareness about issues related to the environment, recycling, water and the school’s energy conservation programs the group hopes to emphasize the importance of reusing everything possible.

 “This all got started when a student wrote a letter to (Clemson) President (James) Barker in August of 2006,” said Derek Wilmott of the Solid Green Committee. “The student basically said the campus was beautiful but was covered with cigarette butts.”Clemson Mayor Larry Abernathy and Barker subsequently agreed to begin the Solid Green initiative in town and on campus.Those participating in this year’s event could in a matter of minutes log on to a laptop computer and receive plastic bags to be used in cleanup work. After turning in bags filled with recyclable materials, a volunteer would receive a gray T-shirt.Amanda Pouch of Earthspun Apparel of Greenville said the T-shirts were gray because they were made of recycled cotton and polyester materials.“We call it X-ray gray,” Pouch said. “We have other colors that match the color of recyclables, such as beer bottle brown.”

All Earthspun Apparel products use nontoxic inks and can be recycled multiple times.Last year the Clemson event drew about 500 participants. This year the number of volunteers was down slightly because of rain, but volunteers collected bags full of potentially recyclable material Wednesday.“Litter is offensive to me,” said Brice Reynolds, a 22-year-old economics major from Lexington. “I do this to make our campus look better.”Jeb Watkins, 21, an international management major, said, “I have always supported the environment. I am an Eagle Scout, so I grew up with the perspective that trash laying around reflects poorly on the campus.”Watkins said he spent at least 20 minutes picking up litter that could be recycled.“It is really not very much, but every little bit helps,” he said.

The university has a recycling services department based at the Kite Hill recycling drop-off area. The department provides pick up of paper, plastic bottles, aluminum cans, cardboard, glass and toner and ink jet cartridges for the school. Recycling services also handles on-campus recycling bins and weekly recyclable pick-up service, among other responsibilities.According to Clemson Recycling Services, food waste represents the largest part of the nation’s municipal waste. In the 2010-2011 school year, the department recovered a reported 47,548 pounds of food waste on campus that was eventually recycled into compost.