Volume 95, Issue 79

Thursday, February 21, 2002
Search the Archives:
Tips for searching

Campus and Culture
Submit Letter
Contact Us
About the Gazette


Ivey kids have problems too?

Goin' green on the UWO scene

Goin' green on the UWO scene

Dave Van Dyck
Photo Editor

Leading. Thinking – the overused slogan of our university. But how can Western claim to lead when it is so far behind on environmental issues?

A few weeks ago, after finishing a pizza from CentreSpot, the time came to dispose of my pizza box. Everything else on my tray could be recycled in the provided bins, except the pizza box. How can that be?

One of the most common recyclable materials is corrugated cardboard, yet our university does not offer us the choice of recycling this material.

Jim Galbraith, the physical plant employee in charge of recycling, said that while cardboard is recycled on campus (236 tonnes last year), providing containers inside buildings is a firecode violation.

That should change.

Apart from the cardboard recycling problem, if this school was a true leader, it would not allow the use of thousands of Tim Horton's and Coke cups everyday.

For Tim Horton's, a policy could be set that if you want their coffee, you need to use a reusable mug – which they already sell. Forcing customers to reuse their cups is beneficial for Tim's business, lowering their cost per product.

As far as the Coke cups go, plastic is much easier to recycle than the paper cups currently provided. The plastic cups The Spoke and The Wave use (while too small) are plastic and could potentially be recycled. However, the plastic cups still find their way to the garbage can because there are no recycling bins provided inside these establishments.

The convenience of the throw-away mentality seems to be reinforced at Western, which markets itself as a leader, though it clearly is not.

While we may not be a recycling leader yet, the option is always there if we so desire it. Obviously, if enough students demanded a more environmentally-focused administration, specifically on issues such as packaging on campus, change would happen.

The question then has to be, why isn't there more attention paid to environmental issues?

In the past, environmental issues received copious amounts of attention from students. Now the issues seem to focus around tuition and the Progressive Conservative party.

Directing even a fraction of the effort put towards the seemingly fruitless tuition effort will likely yield huge results, as environmental efforts in the past have demonstrated.

The fact that no real attention has been given to environmental issues on this campus says to me that the general public is not aware of the situation at hand – or they simply don't care.

You don't have to look far to see the need to limiting waste.

Just look at the problems Toronto is facing. With so many students from the GTA attending Western, you would think just a few might realize the need for a stronger environmental movement.

Taking initiative now will hopefully change the options open to the public and change the practices of businesses. If businesses start receiving enough calls, maybe things will change.

To Contact The Opinions Department:

Copyright The Gazette 2002