My roommate thinks I’m a hoarder. In fairness, I’ve given him good reason. There are plastic water bottles and cardboard boxes cluttering the floor by my desk and chair, and I’m vehemently opposed to the idea of their disposal. I’m saving them to be recycled, but as a freshman, I don’t know where to go with my recyclables. In Crawford, unless they’ve been camouflaged and concealed somehow, there seem not to be any receptacles for plastic, paper, or glass, the last of which apparently isn’t recycled by Salem at all.
There are recycling bins around campus, but they’re in public places and academic buildings. If there are indeed any in dorms, they’re not particularly visible, and they have yet to make their way to every building. I know I’m not alone in my confusion at the recycling situation on campus.
Freshman Bridget Lujan is also concerned, confused, and badly bothered by the lack of access to recycling facilities. “It’s really hard to recycle here. It took me a couple of weeks to find a place I could take my plastic bottles. I know most people probably don’t make a point of recycling their bottles, but if the option was easier there would definitely be more people recycling. “
Of course, there are some options. It is not as if Roanoke does not have a recycling program at all. The broader issues seem to be awareness and accessibility. At a recent Earthbound meeting, recycling was the biggest issue raised. Only a few of the members in attendance could locate, offhand, a receptacle for recyclables. While still only in the tentative stages, the club discussed programs to raise awareness and make recycling on campus more convenient.
While these plans will surely do a great deal to keep recyclable waste out of landfills, the administration has a responsibility to make access to recycling convenient and hard to miss. While there are logistical difficulties in expanded collection and some potential financial hurdles, student groups, such as Earthbound, will without a doubt be happy to work with administration and bear some of the burden. However, the key to any really successful program will be administrative support and involvement.
Concerned students should not hesitate to get involved with administration on this issue. Write letters, speak with officials in person, and do your part in supporting the efforts of organizations like Earthbound. Working together with administration, we can change the way the campus handles its waste, and really make it different for students to make environmentally responsible choice. In doing so, together we can make a significant, positive impact on the fragile Earth we share.