When the Chapel Hill Town Council approved the addition of roll carts to its recycling program Monday, Meg Miller might have been one of the happiest people in town.
Miller is the head cook and house manager at the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity house. Under her guidance, the fraternity was able to recycle 52 bins of recyclable products last semester, almost double what all of the fraternities on big frat court recycled — a total of 32 bins.
The fraternity’s efficient recycling system has resulted in DKE recycling about seven bins a week — and that number doesn’t include aluminum cans, which Miller gives to a homeless man.
Most of the waste comes from the kitchen that Miller leads. The fraternity has reduced its trash from two dumpsters to two-thirds of a dumpster per week.
She said she applauds the town of Chapel Hill for its trend toward efficient recycling, specifically for the addition of rolling recycle bins and for having all-purpose recycling bins which make recycling more convenient.
“The town of Chapel Hill deserves credit,” she said.
Miller said the kitchen staff has to be onboard in order for fraternities to have efficient and effective recycling systems.
Other than recycling, Miller uses refillable bottles for condiments and donates oil from the kitchen to a local company that produces biodiesel, confirming her passion for sustainability.
Miller said she wants to promote sustainability in other areas as well. She said she wants to see styrofoam trays replaced with sustainable to-go trays in fraternity dining because paper trays become too soggy to use over a long period of time.
The Interfraternity Council began its recycling initiative in order to promote sustainability this year through its Greek Recycling Intern position in UNC’s Sustainability Office.
The council is offering a sustainability competition to recognize groups that are active in sustainability.
When Delta Kappa Epsilon started recycling 10 years ago, Miller was the only one in the house who recycled. The fraternity members now contribute.
“I go behind them to recycle,” Miller said. “The last four to five years, they are more helpful than they used to be.”
Aaron Bachenheimer, director of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and Community Involvement, also said he sees more fraternity members contributing to the greek recycling effort.
Bachenheimer said the most credit belongs to the non-student staff of the Greek houses. Staff members who care about recycling promote it in their house, making it an easier process for students, Bachenheimer said.
“If you can make it easy, students will do it,” he said.
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