Engineering a greener future

Feb 4, 2008

It's not always easy being green, but Kettering's Green Engineering Organization recently got a little help from some friends at Coca-Cola.

Kettering’s Green Engineering Organization (GEO) was chosen as one of 76 organizations out of more than 1,300 applicants to receive free pop can recycling bins from the National Recycling Coalition (NRC) and Coca-Cola to support recycling efforts on campus.

The pop can bins will be added to GEO’s existing paper recycling program on campus which consists of approximately 15 recycling collection points, according to Kristy Boskey, GEO president.  “Each semester new bins are added and shifted around to adjust to the needs of the campus,” Boskey said. “The bins are collected by the students participating in the GEO organization, which determines the number of bins we are able to support,” she added.

The new pop can bins are designed for both plastic and aluminum and will be placed in the library, the “hang out room,” in various labs and hallways in both the Academic Building and Mott Engineering and Science Center.

The response from students so far is this is a program that is missing from the campus community, according to Boskey. “We know that the cans shouldn't be thrown into the trash, but we don't have anywhere else to put them when we are on campus,” she said “this program will help to fill that need.”

GEO received one of 76 grants awarded to a diverse selection of applicants from 40 states, including 15 colleges and universities, 19 municipalities and other local government entities, 18 K-12 schools, 20 community-based non profit organizations and three Native American tribes.

Recipients were chosen by NRC based on a number of criteria, including where bins are likely to have the most impact on recovering beverage containers from the waste stream, ability of recipients to sustain their program in the future, and intention to support collection programs with recycling education and promotion. The Bin Grant was sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company and is designed to promote and support community recycling in the U.S.

"The response to this grant program has been phenomenal. The extent and diversity of applications solidly demonstrates how citizens across the nation are addressing recycling on a community level," said Kate Krebs, executive director of the National Recycling Coalition. "It's a privilege for NRC to partner with Coca-Cola to provide recycling collection bins that will build, expand and strengthen recycling programs at school, work and play."

Kettering’s GEO group, an off-shoot of the Kettering Industrial Ecology Team (KIET), a multidisciplinary group of researchers and industry professionals who examine environmental issues in product design and manufacturing, has been growing each semester since it began two years ago. There are currently about 20 active members in B-section including faculty adviser Dr. Jennifer Aurandt, assistant professor of Bio-Chemistry and Chemistry.

GEO projects include the paper recycling program, a speaker series featuring experts from industry who share their company's involvement in green engineering, and involvement in the Flint “Cultivating the Community Project”, a collaborative effort to develop a planned and coordinated approach to beautify Genesee County and set higher standards for the visual landscape of the community.

GEO also provides technical input to the Flint Children's Museum Learning Lot project. For more information about GEO, our campus involvement, and how others can get involved, check out our website at

The NRC is a national, non-profit advocacy group with members that span all aspects of waste reduction, reuse and recycling in North America. NRC's objective is to eliminate waste and promote sustainable economies though advancing sound management practices for raw materials in North America. NRC works with its members and partners to sponsor programs and stakeholder forums that provide tools and nurture solutions for the recycling industry. Breaking new ground in how Americans think about waste, the Coalition is a strong and clear voice for recycling. For more information about the NRC please visit

The Coca-Cola Company is the world's largest non-alcoholic beverage company. Along with the Coca-Cola(R) trademark, recognized as the world's most valuable brand, the Company markets four of the world's top five nonalcoholic sparkling beverage brands, including the Diet Coke(R), Fanta(R) and Sprite(R) brands, and a wide range of other beverages, including diet and light beverages, waters, juices and juice drinks, teas, coffees, energy and sports drinks. Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the Company's beverages at a rate exceeding 1.4 billion servings each day. For more information about The Coca-Cola Company, please visit their website at

Written by Dawn Hibbard