by Lauren Andrews | Staff Writer
In a world characterized by increased temperatures, consistent burning of fossil fuels, and almost an equivalent number of plastic in the ocean as there are fish, repairing the Earth is definitely high on this generation’s to do list. Although it may seem as if little can be done by a college student, who’s preoccupied with academics and surviving midterms, to save the Earth, there are some effortless actions that can be taken everyday to combat these serious and increasing issues. One small step is simply recycling and reducing one’s use of plastic.
Recycling on campus is very much possible. There will soon be recycling bins available for use in the first floor or lobby in each residence hall, meaning the instigation of change will be just a few stairwells away. Instead of mindlessly tossing a Starbucks cup into a trashcan, rinse it out and recycle it instead of constituting to even more of the Earth’s surface being covered in plastic. Making a difference can be just that effortless and impactful for the environment.
The GreenHose plays a major role in the implementation of recycling on campus. The GreenHose is a student run organization which focuses on ways to improve the environment around campus. From helping at the Community Garden to emptying out the recycling bins each week, GreenHose puts forth the effort to be involved on campus and in the community to do their part towards helping the Earth. Being a member of GreenHose means being conscious of one’s impact on the Earth and attempting to reduce this impact. It also means helping others come to this realization as well and helping to make it a simple process.
Liza Powers, the coordinator of GreenHose, is very aware of the issues of excessive plastic use on campus. According to Powers, last February, students used 14,250 straws, which averages to about 509 straws per day. Powers recommends cutting out some of this unnecessary plastic use.“Go ahead and skip the straw and the lid. We really don’t need lids on our cups or our Moe’s containers. Just skipping those three things would make a huge difference!” Powers said.
While using a straw or lid doesn’t seem like a very big deal, consider how many students on campus share this same mindset. Also consider how many times students go to Springs Student Center each day. One student could go to Springs multiple times in one day with his friends, resulting in a quick build up of plastic within one day from one group of friends. Then consider the fact that most of these students most likely just throw the plastic away in a trash can out of convenience, and the issue only inflates from there. Seemingly small actions can have detrimental effects as time passes, but other seemingly small counteractions can also help to alleviate these effects.
However, taking advantage of the presence of recycling bins does not equate to abusing their presence. Powers asks students to please be aware of what they throw into the bins and to be aware when they’re using a recycling bin rather than a trash can, which should be relatively easy since the bins are labeled with what items can be thrown into them. “If you are recycling on campus, know that students are taking time out of their day to empty the bins themselves. Please be mindful of what you put in them. It will make our lives so much easier if we don’t have to sort through old Moe’s burritos, week old chocolate milk and other items that are not recyclable.” Powers said.
The recycling center, Clinton Recycling Center, is where the GreenHose takes the campus’ recycled items off to, but they do have a few specifications which students should be aware of if they plan to recycle. They only take cardboard and paperboard that has been flattened and broken down. They also take paper, newspaper and plastic containers which have been rinsed out. They also take both colored and clear glass.
Currently, GreenHose is focusing on the recycling of plastic bottles and aluminum cans, but more bins for more recyclable materials will be added soon. They are also starting a new recycling system for the new apartments, Spradley and the Town Houses, in which Seniors will be able to rent recycling bins. With many new and exciting plans for the future of recycling on campus, GreenHose is also always searching for new members to help carry out these goals. If a student wanted to help with the recycling on campus or was interested in joining GreenHose, some of the activities the student would engage in would be sorting the recycled items into the proper containers, hauling off the bins to the recycling center and helping put the bins in cars to be taken off.
Powers encourages students to participate in recycling even if they do not choose to be a part of GreenHose. It doesn’t take an organization for change to happen, but rather a determined individual. “Every little bit helps. All our trash that is thrown away sits in the landfill for years and years and years. Recycling helps that process move a bit quicker,” Powers said.
However, if one does wish to join the GreenHose, they meet the second Tuesday of each month in the backroom of Greenville Dining Hall. Interested students can also email Powers, firstname.lastname@example.org, for updates on how to help out or for information on upcoming meetings. GreenHose provides the perfect opportunity for making change happen and encouraging students to become more aware and involved. Students have much more influence on their surroundings than they are aware of, but all it takes is the one small step towards change to begin the journey towards a new and improved future.