UT faces uphill battle against litter

Trash finds its way to more places than just the UT campus. By Clayton Culp
published: April 07 2009 05:20 AM updated:: April 07 2009 05:22 AM

For Ted Murphy and his small army of maintenance workers, every day is like the life of Bill Murray’s character in “Groundhog Day.” And this rerun could be costing you money.

The more time we spend picking up litter, the less time we have to do other things that make the campus look better.
Ted Murphy, superintendent for grounds maintenance

You may not see these workers very often, but that’s OK; they don’t see you often either, just your mess. Of course, that’s only if you’re one of the five percent of people grounds workers said create the majority of litter on campus.

As superintendent for care of grounds at UT, Ted Murphy oversees the University’s day-to-day litter cleanup. The work begins everyday around 8 a.m. when Murphy’s staff of 30 departs Facility Services and descends on UT’s 567 acres. The crew usually divides into groups of three, each assigned to one of nine sections of campus to cover, including the parking garages. During fall and spring semesters, each worker spends about 1 to 2 hours a day picking up litter before they get to anything else.

“On the whole, campus-wide we probably spend anywhere from 175 to 240 man-hours per week picking up litter,” Murphy said. And those man-hours impact the grounds maintenance annual budget of $2 million. They also impact the cost in time that could have been spent doing other things with a more long-lasting effect such as landscaping or repairs. “The more time we spend picking up litter the less time we have to do other things that make the campus look better,” he said.

I regret posting this article about trash at my Alma Mater, but I noticed it was a major problem the last trip I took to the campus.

NP NowPublic

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