Since I first arrived on campus, I have seen sign after sign boasting about how Ohio University is a recycle-friendly campus. Being a bit skeptical about how eco-friendly we really are, I decided to investigate.
I did not do any data collecting or heavy document researching. I simply walked around campus and looked at the various dumpsters and recycling bins, comparing how much was in each. I also looked at how much recyclable material was in the dumpsters that could be recycled that was not. Additionally, I checked each location before the dumpsters and bins were emptied for the day.
What I found was a bit concerning.
Almost all the recycling bins had at least half as much less material in them as the dumpsters. Only a few from the locations I checked out had about the same amount in both, or more in the recycling bins.
Yet another alarming discovery I found is that a lot of students throw recyclable material in the trash. Cardboard to-go boxes from the dining halls, plastic silverware, food containers and so much more was in the trash. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, on average, recycled and composted materials account for 1.51 pounds out of the 4.40 pounds of trash per person per day. We at Ohio University are only contributing to this alarming number by not properly disposing of our recyclable material.
Another observation I made was going with my friends to take out their trash. Their trash bags were filled with recyclables, and their recycling had so little in it. Why throw away what can be reused?
Ohio University strives to be an eco-friendly campus. It is our job as students to make this goal a reality. Students, I encourage you to be more mindful of what you are doing with your trash materials. Faculty, encourage your students to begin eco-friendly habits.
It is our job as people of this Earth to treat it right and with respect. It gives us the air we breathe, the food we eat and so much more. We must make eco-friendly habits at this point in our lives in order to make it a natural part of our routines in the future. Get out there and recycle, Bobcats. Let’s make our campus greener and live up to our name of a recycle-friendly campus.