Recycling should be no-brainer, administration needs to get on board

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Recycling is a large part helping the environment and one that Dixie State University could do better in.

St. George falls short of the standards set by the Salt Lake valley where recycling is concerned. In the Salt Lake valley, individuals have the option to have a recycling bin in addition to the traditional trash can. Washington County is coming late to the game with this curbside recycling, but at least now it’s available. Beginning in February, citizens of the Washington County will have curbside recycling bins available for homes, apartment complexes, and businesses.

While Washington County continues to expand its recycling program, recycling on DSU’s campus remains scarce.

There are a few blue recycling bins or gray bins with a green recycling sticker scattered across campus, but they are small and don’t hold very much. The bins aren’t in the best places to be utilized by students, often only placed at exits and entrances. Not only should the bins be larger so students recognize they are there, but they should also be more widespread. They should be interspersed among the desks in the library and in the study rooms. They should also be in every classroom. 

The large amount of papers students throw away in the library alone warrants a better system to handle the load. It would be worth the effort to put in place a bigger, better organized recycling program on campus.  Some professors do try to limit their paper use by putting assignments on Canvas. 

There are some clubs on campus such as the Sustainability Club, who have regularly rallied for projects to improve energy efficiency on campus. The Sustainability Club initiated the bike share initiative on campus last semester. There are green bikes on campus meant for students to use on campus to travel between classes without the use of a car for those who don’t want to or don’t have time to walk. 

The recycling bins on campus are emptied by a combination of custodial staff and various clubs, including the Sustainability Club. The smaller bins are taken to dumpsters on campus, which are emptied by recycling companies.

The Sustainability Club runs what recycling there is currently on campus. Sustainability Club Adviser Tracey O’Kelly said it would like to expand its recycling program but is being hampered by administration.

“They just don’t feel it’s necessary,” O’Kelly said. “We need students to drive the initiative. We have a petition and we would love for students to sign it.”

O’Kelly has many ideas of how to expand the recycling on campus. She wants administration to fund more dumpsters and receptacles at desks, in the halls, and in classrooms.

“I think that if we could get the administration to realize that students want more recycling, then they will make more of an effort to help us to get it.” O’Kelly said. “We really need to be a leader for the community.” 

The club hopes to initiate outdoor recycling bins in the near future. O’Kelly said club members feel it will be easier to get through to administration with the new curbside recycling.

Chloe Lichtenberg, a sophomore Spanish major from Hailey, Idaho, is the president of the Sustainability Club. 

“Be conscious about every product that you buy,” Lichtenberg said. “Take a look at the plastic package and think, ‘where is this going right now?’ where is it going to end up on this earth? You know you produce a lot of trash just in one day and people don’t realize it. Taking a second just to look at it can change your whole viewpoint.”

Lichtenberg also pointed out students can bring reusable containers to establishments like Starbucks and Swig to create less waste. 

Recycling is important for a plethora of reasons. It helps the environment by decreasing landfills and preserving clean oceans. By using recycled materials, there is less need to cut down trees or otherwise decrease the habitats of wildlife. Just having recycling plants provides jobs for citizens. 

An expanded recycling program should be put into place at DSU with more enthusiasm and more quickly. Green initiatives aren’t high up on the list of ways to spend money but it should be. As a university in this county it is our responsibility to teach and set an example for our community. 

The Sustainability Club has a petition for further recycling on campus. To sign students go to the third floor of the library to O’Kelly’s office or go to the club meetings at 3:30 on Mondays in the Gardener Student Center.