University of Tennessee students sign pledge to commit to recycling household products

In an effort to reduce the amount of waste produced on campus and to encourage people to live a more sustainable lifestyle, University of Tennessee students are celebrating their sixth annual "Power Challenge." This month-long initiative kicks off with a sustainability week which encourages students to use the many recycling options on campus to do their part to create a greener environment for their fellow classmates. According to Tennessee's NBC affiliate WBIR, one group called "UT Recycling" handed out 600 reusable mugs to students who signed a pledge to commit to move from disposable products to reusable ones and those made from recycled materials.

"We want to reduce the amount of waste coming from campus, especially the paper cups that some places like Starbucks or Einstein's gives us," Emmy Waldhart, assistant recycling coordinator, told the news source. "They cannot be recycled because they have a waxy coating. So we have the potential to keep 100,000 cups a year out of a landfill with this project."

In addition to doing their part for the environment, the students who sign this pledge will be able to get discounted beverages on campus when they bring their reusable mug. Additionally, the recycling group is having a light bulb exchange, where students can bring in their wasteful incandescent bulbs and swap them for compact fluorescent bulbs free of cost.

Even if you're not a college student, these sorts of common sense initiatives can make a huge difference for the environment and help to keep waste out of local landfills. By making a concerted effort to reuse items and reduce one's carbon footprint, this activity can educate others about the importance of sustainable living.