Green Hands Spreads Environmental Awareness

Mariam Matar
Staff Reporter

Green Hands is collecting paper from students for their recycling campaign - ALAIN EL HAJJ

Green Hands initiated their second fall 2011 project by the name of “Treasure From Trash” on Oct. 2, which aims to revive the spirit of recycling and encourages students to hand in their old paper to get recycled and transformed into notebooks and other useful goods.

Engy Adham, an integrated marketing communication freshman the head of Green Hands’ on-campus projects, illustrated to The Independent how the project works, and how students can help out.

“There are essentially two aspects to this project, the first being the awareness aspect; we want AUC students to normalize recycling in their homes and outside. Notebooks and random sheets of paper are one of the most used resources on campus; we need to take advantage of that and let students know that they can do something beneficial with all the left over paper. The other aspect is that of production; once we’ve gathered enough old sheets of paper we will produce things like notebooks, which increases the utility of what people see as merely trash,” she explains.

Students can either put their used paper in the recycling bins around campus or submit large amounts of paper to the Green Hands booth. Once the old paper is reprocessed, Green Hands will be distributing the free notebooks at their booth.

Adham had a piece of advice to share with fellow AUC students: “I want AUCians to realize that everything is recyclable. I want them to normalize and internalize this, be it with water bottles, glass bottles, or cardboard boxes. Everything is recyclable.”

Sarah Eweda, an art and integrated marketing communications sophomore, discussed how important it is for AUC students to normalize recycling.

“I want to see recycling become the norm. I want AUC students to separate their trash, bring in all their old sheets, and save energy. AUC students should already have a high amount of awareness when it comes to such an important topic. Imagine if the art department actually used reprocessed material for students to work on; it would actually be a lot of fun, and very artistic,” she says.

Nermine Abdel Hady, an art sophomore, talked about how Green Hands got AUC faculty involved with the initiative: “We went to professors and proposed that instead of them asking for hard copies from students, they could ask for drafts to be handed in online and final essays to be handed in on paper. It would save a lot of paper and hassle for both professors and students. Unfortunately though, not all professors favored the idea, but some agreed to take the initiative.”

She explains that getting used to recycling is difficult at first.

“Before joining Green Hands, I personally thought that recycling meant taking an old plastic bottle, washing it, then using it again. Now, I separate my trash, and when you separate food from plastic and containers, the food remnants can be used for fertilizer, which can help grow trees and organic fruit. We help the environment while keeping our country and homes clean.”

Green Hands has faced some issues with introducing some of their ideas to Egyptian businessmen and the general public, because such ideas require a lot of hard work, money and time, but the Green Hands team are optimistic and determined about their goal, and about revolutionizing Egyptian environmental awareness and practices, regardless of the difficulties they are certain they will face.