College campuses need to recycle, plain and simple.
When considering the amount of waste produced in college, whether it’s food, paper, aluminum cans or the like, it’s impossible to ignore the benefits that recycling would yield.
Some of these benefits, as outlined by a Princeton University reports, include saving trees, protecting wildlife, curbing global warming, reducing water pollution and reducing the need of landfills.
According to Boston College, “The average college student produces 640 pounds of solid waste each year, including 500 disposable cups and 320 pounds of paper.”
And with a population of about 10,000 students, the implications of this statistic at USD are more than alarming.
According to the 2016 USD waste audit, which was conducted on 18 trash cans around campus, USD produced 36 percent trash, 27 percent recyclables and 37 percent compostables.
This may be due to the fact that people aren’t using the recycling bins we do have. Or it means the university doesn’t have enough places where students can easily access recycling bins. Either way, the results of this audit are worrisome.
Jonathan Bardelline from greenbiz.com lists several ways college campuses can be more inclusive in executing recycling, including the most important point: Getting more people involved in recycling.
At USD, this means getting more students and faculty to realize why recycling is good for the planet and for campus.
Some organizations have already taken the first steps in this effort: Greening Vermillion and the sustainability program at USD have both demonstrated the importance of recycling and maintaining a sustainable lifestyle on campus.
Though implementing a recycling program takes time, as it should in the interest of doing an efficient job, it seems bizarre that a flagship university such as USD is still so far behind when it comes to sustainability.
If these efforts were to be successful, USD would look cleaner and have a sense of care all campuses need. This success would extend to our school pride and reputation, as the school would be setting an example in a time where many college students waste a significant amount of resources in an average year.
Even doing simple things that are mundane in college life can make significant differences, such as showering for shorter amounts of time, throwing away all paper in the recycling bins across campus or dropping off recyclable materials at Missouri Valley Recycling Center, which is located in Vermillion.
There are better ways for USD to help tackle the amount of waste being produced on campus. First and foremost though, a campus-wide recycling program needs to be implemented.