Everyone passing buck
For years we have been told to recycle. Many
of us come from towns and cities with recycling programs, and
you would think most of us would eventually get the message
Unfortunately, the message just can’t seem to get through.
Recyclable waste is consistently thrown out with the rest of
the garbage. All this is happening while there are recycling
bins scattered throughout the buildings on campus.
The blame cannot be placed with any single group. The university’s
administration, physical plant and students should all be doing
something about it. Most would agree there is a problem with
recycling on campus — what they don’t realize is
that the real issue lies in the fact that no one is seriously
addressing the problem.
All the interested parties are far too ignorant, apathetic
and lazy about recycling to take any real action. There is
so much that can be done, but there is so little immediate,
tangible incentive — thus no initiative to change.
Awareness weeks for environmental issues have been tried over
and over again, but how many students can even remember the
last Environmental Awareness Week? There isn’t even awareness
about awareness, so to speak.
Signs can be put up around garbage and recycling bins to direct
people to throw the glass bottles into the glass bottle recycling
bin, and put the garbage into the garbage bins, but the tendency
is for people to just not use the recycling bins, whether through
sheer laziness, irresponsibility or something else.
The Richard Ivey School of Business is a perfect example.
The school disposes of plenty of fine paper and newsprint that
can be recycled, however, a majority of that, according to
survey data, finds its way into the regular garbage.
Is recycling actually that complicated?
There is something that can be done.
Recycling is not just a fad of the ’90s; awareness has
to continue. The message must be beaten into people’s
heads so they will recycle the appropriate waste.
Maybe the janitors who maintain Western’s buildings
have to empty bins more regularly so they are not overflowing
to the point where people don’t bother using the recycling
Or perhaps what is needed is a program to set a quota (for
every faculty) for the ratio of recycled waste thrown in with
the plain, everyday garbage. With all the information gathered
in a ranking of campus buildings’ performance, good environmental
waste management could become a competition.
Either way, there is $100,000 allotted to the recycling budget,
while the revenue is $25,000. Perhaps the real incentive lies
in the fact that there is money to be made.
After all, it’s only a matter of getting the right piece
of garbage in the right bin — something university students,
faculty and staff should be able to handle.