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Written By: Marisa Chambers
Reduce, reuse, recycle is a phrase that has been heard and seen on multiple occasions throughout our lives. Recycling is critical as waste has an enormous negative impact on the natural environment. Harmful chemicals and greenhouse gasses are released from rubbish in landfill sites. Recycling helps to reduce the pollution caused by waste (source). Growing up with a father getting upset if a plastic bottle was in the trash can influenced my views on the importance of recycling. Even if others did not grow up in an eco-friendly environment, recycling should just be common sense to people. The resource recovery and waste management division stress the importance of recycling in schools by saying “Since school waste is up to 80% recyclable, schools make a huge impact when they recycle. Recycling is also cheaper than trash disposal, so it helps save the environment AND your budget!” While students may not care too much about the schools budget, if we continue not to bother recycling we shouldn’t be surprised if tuition goes up a few bucks.
There are a handful of students on this campus who do care about the planet indeed; MASSPIRG has spread awareness, there are some posters here and there about it, but even those select few do not seem to be enough people recycling. Although there are trash and recycling receptacles in the most of the main buildings around campus, it seems that people throw their trash in whichever container is closer or less full at the time. Paige Harrington, a fellow student and Earth systems science major, expressed her frustration with people who do not think recycling is important. “The average American produces 5.5 pounds of trash daily, and knowing that people are aware of how to reduce this number but choose not to makes me disappointed in our species. We decide to pollute this planet and cause problems for other species, yet we know how to fix our mistakes.”
These errors we make by throwing away plastic, paper, aluminum, and glass may seem harmless at the time, but the laziness of not finding a recycling bin or reusing the materials adds up quickly when everyone is doing it. In Russell Towers (the freshman residence hall) there are barely any recycling bins in the entire building (besides on the main floor) that is housing approximately 450 freshmen living on campus. Just by looking around the building, you can tell residents are too lazy to take their trash to the dumpsters by just putting their trash in the bathrooms and common area trash cans. If our fellow students are unable to dispose of waste correctly, it would be unrealistic to expect them to recycle. This is sad, but it also does not seem that the housing department isn’t making much of an effort to encourage residents to recycle. However, if there were a recycling bin on every floor, it would make a huge difference.
Although we won’t be able to change the world, there are steps we can certainly take to benefit our planet. Re-use your water bottles, don’t waste paper, and remember that aluminum, glass, plastic, and paper shouldn’t go in the trash. Being lazy is okay when you don’t feel like going to the dining hall and order a pizza instead, but we should not be lazy when it comes to helping our planet. A little goes a long way when it comes to recycling, so take those extra steps to the recycling bin and assist the Earth.
Learn the benefits of recycling here: