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Campus Can Crushers recycle over 81,500 cans across the University of Idaho's campus

Campus Can Crusher
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Posted at 8:38 PM, Apr 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-16 10:52:00-04

IDAHO — With a grant from the University of Idaho biology engineer student, Addie White, created "Campus Can Crushers" to help Idaho become more recycle friendly.

“They are highly durable metal can crushers in the shape of university logos," White said. "It’s a project I started at the University of Idaho because our recycling program was cut.”

The reason?

"It is too expensive, cause of contamination issues, transportation costs, and kind of just lack of participation," White said.

That's where Campus Can Crushers comes in.

"It's designed to meet all of those problem points by making it fun to recycle, by making them prevent contamination, and then it is saving space because it is crushing the cans,” White said.

As the Director of Sustainability for the Associated Students of the University of Idaho White knows the importance of recycling, especially cans.

"Aluminum is super valuable for recycling centers it is what keeps recycling centers in business because the process saves over 90 percent of the energy needed to make new aluminum products," White said. "It happens really quickly if you recycle an aluminum can it is made into another aluminum can within 2 weeks."

She started by handing out the can crushers she welded herself to the fraternities and sororities on campus.

"For a recycling competition and they collected over 81,000 cans in 8 weeks which is kind of crazy," White said. "I just think it shows the need to have recycling because they are going through so many cans and most of that was being landfilled before."

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Now she is expanding the can crushing program to Boise State, the University of Washington, and other schools.

White is also working to create smaller versions of the can-crushing barrels for people to put inside their homes.

All with a goal of teaching others the importance of recycling and the good it does for our environment.

"A lot of students in Idaho don’t grow up recycling, so it is a good exposure to recycling and then I would give them updates about how much energy they were saving each week," White said.

So far, their recycled cans have saved 52 barrels of oil, 18,400 kWh of energy, and 13 cubic yards of landfill space.