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‘Message in a Bottle’ project to to preserve memories, promote recycling at UW-Green Bay

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UW-Green Bay’s sustainability team is hoping the campus community gets — and gives — their “Message in a Bottle” during an awareness campaign Sept. 17-21.

The campaign involves the new Student Services plaza/roof deck, currently under construction. The plaza project will include a number of large, deep planters — some are so deep that the plants going in them don’t require them all that much soil to thrive. Rather than paying more for soil, UW-Green Bay’s sustainability and facilities management teams will reuse capped plastic bottles collected from recycling bins on campus. The bottles will add the needed volume and won’t decay for a staggering 450 years or so (maybe longer) — which serves as a reminder of what happens (or more accurately, doesn’t happen) when bottles end up in the landfill, rather than the recycling bin.

In order to add an element of fun — not to mention awareness — to the project, campus community members will be able to repurpose one of their own plastic bottles as a personal time capsule, said UW-Green Bay sustainability coordinator Laurie Case. All they need to do is rinse out a rigid plastic bottle (keeping the cap), let it dry, and then write their “message in a bottle” on a slip of paper — or express it via another medium — to be put inside. Messages can be anything — campus memories, hopes for the future, a note to future generations, poems or photos.

Participants can drop their bottles off at one of six specially marked collection bins on campus (in the Cofrin Library, MAC Hall, Theatre Hall, Rose Hall, Instructional Services and Environmental Sciences) during the week of Sept. 17-21. Project coordinators ask that you include some basic personal info — name, age, title, etc. as appropriate — so future University historians will know something about you.

“We’re reusing bottles, avoiding costs for unneeded soil, reinforcing a plastic recycling message and leaving messages from 2012,” Case said. “Future members of the campus community will literally unearth these messages the next time the roof deck undergoes reconstruction — probably 40 or 50 years in the future.”

For more information, email sustainability@uwgb.edu.

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