Recycling on campus

Aaron Credeur, Staff Writer

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College students accumulate more trash than our recycling bins can accommodate, indicating that changes need to be made in our approach to recycling. Photo by Anthony Garnier.

Walk into the student apartments on campus, and you’ll most likely see trash spilling out of a can — or, more accurately, recyclables spilling out of the recycling bin.

The recycling program was started here on campus several years ago to give students the option to recycle their waste, but it’s obvious that the current setup is anything but adequate.

From beer bottles to pizza boxes, the average college student produces a hefty amount of recyclable waste each week.

The single recycling container by the student apartments is far too small to contain the students’ waste, and often it sits for a while without being emptied, leaving trash piled up around it. But as much as an overfilled bin is an eyesore, something is better than nothing. Hopefully the recycling program on campus will continue to develop and become more effective — but in the meantime, any little bit helps.

Regardless of which side of the global warming debate you find yourself on, we should all be concerned with caring for the planet. The recycling bin in the student apartments may seem inconsequential, but forming the habit of being a good steward of the environment is vital to Christian life and life as a resident of any community.

There’s nothing like an pile of waste, overflowing and windblown, to remind students to be aware of the environment. Aside from the fact that it’s not exactly appealing, a full bin is better than an empty one. The current situation of recycling on campus only serves to show that demand is much greater than supply. Simply getting rid of the recycling bin does not help the students who are trying to do what they can to care for the earth.

In Pope Francis’s recent encyclical, “Laudato Si,” he pushed for the need to care for all of creation. The University of Dallas, as a Catholic community and as a human community, has a responsibility to do its part, however large or small. In turn, by each member of our community doing what they can to care for the environment, the effort on campus can become something much more than a tiny recycling bin.

No doubt, this is something that is necessary on campus. While one can argue that every little bit helps, the fact is that we can (and should) do much more. Something about the current recycling situation on campus needs to change.

The most obvious solution is to install larger recycling containers in the student apartments, and elsewhere on campus, and to have them emptied more often in order to accommodate demand.

But students and faculty everywhere else on campus can do more as well. Even if there’s no recycling bin near certain dorms and offices, individuals can help in small ways. From using one less napkin in the cafeteria to buying reusable dishes and utensils instead of plastic or paper for the dorm, our collective effort can make a huge impact.

It is important to aremember that we don’t have to wait around for the administration to act on improving environmental consciousness on campus. The recycling program in the student apartments was started by a student, and it can be improved by students.

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