Campus Life

Youth Science to get boost from recycling program

Trust Kristy Burke (BSc '08) to find a way to benefit both the University of Lethbridge's Youth Science Program and the environment.

Her idea is a recycling initiative that calls for people on campus to drop off used ink cartridges and old cell phones, which she then ships to a recycling depot. In return, the University collects payment for qualifying items and she funnels the money into the Youth Science Program.

"I stumbled across this while I was looking up ideas for fundraisers," Burke, co-ordinator of youth programs for Conference and Event Services, says. "I have a degree in environmental science so I am pretty conscious of recycling and this really appealed to me."

She signed on with Think Recycle (, a company that offers free recycling programs for schools and non-profit organizations. The company supplies boxes, shipping labels and promotional materials (posters, letters and brochures) and it's simply up to the school to package the items and send them off for a rebate.

"I am the only full-time staff for these programs so it's pretty difficult to take on any labour-intensive fundraising initiatives," Burke says. "With this program, I just have to set up the drop boxes, try and spread the word that they're available and collect and ship the items. It essentially runs itself."

Think Recycle partners with the Tree Canada Foundation and American Forests and has been in operation since 1995.

"There is a huge list of items they accept for a refund but they take virtually everything, including digital cameras," Burke says. "Even if we don't get a refund for a particular cartridge or phone, they still recycle it and it stays out of the landfill."

Burke has set up drop boxes in both Piikani and Kainai House lobbies, as well as the Airport Lounge. She plans to add other locations around campus, including the Atrium and Students' Union Building, and to make the event an ongoing program.

"My hope is to make enough money to pay for our Science Club supplies on an annual basis and maybe one day co-ordinate an annual cell phone drive, as they carry a much bigger refund price than the cartridges."