June 08, 2007

Association names Warner 'Recycler of the Year'

by Tim Crosby


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CARBONDALE, Ill. — A statewide group of recycling professionals has named the head of campus recycling efforts at Southern Illinois University Carbondale its "Recycler of the Year."

Andilee M. Warner, recycling and solid waste coordinator at SIUC, will receive the honor from the Illinois Recycling Association. A committee of her peers selected Warner for the award, which she will receive during a banquet later this month in Peoria.

Warner, head of recycling at SIUC since 1998, said the award surprised her.

"It was very moving because this is an award from your peers statewide," Warner said. "It kind of took me off guard. I didn't really believe it."

Philip S. Gatton, director of Plant and Service Operations at SIUC, said Warner is well deserving of the honor.

"Andilee has done a wonderful job leading SIUC's recycling program," Gatton said. "Her dedication to a sustainable earth and this University has created national attention for SIUC. Andilee exemplifies the University's desire to be a leader in the recycling community. I am pleased to see her win such a prestigious award."

Under Warner, the campus recycling program at SIUC diverts about 1,000 tons from the landfill to recycling centers annually. She obtained numerous grants worth more than $500,000, some of which helped fund the University's unique vermicomposting operations.

Started in 2004, the vermicomposting operation uses about 3 million red wiggler worms to dispose of more than 170,000 pounds of food waste left over annually at the University's three residence hall cafeterias. Not only does it divert the waste from landfills, but also results in valuable fertilizer and research opportunities for faculty and students.

This spring, Warner headed up the University's involvement in RecycleMania, a nationwide competition among universities and colleges to recycle the most material during a 10-week period and raise overall awareness about recycling opportunities.

Warner also serves as vice president of Keep Carbondale Beautiful, a local group dedicated to environmental efforts in and around the University's hometown. She is on the board of the Southern Illinois Center for a Sustainable Future and played an important role in that group's Millennial Earth Week Extravaganza. She also has been a member of the Illinois Recycling Association for eight years, serving on its board of directors the last four.