Sustainability: Residents have no excuse not to recycle

Posted on Apr 27 2014 - 11:06am by Ashley Gill

By Evan Heringer,  Multimedia Editor

Every student who lives in a residence hall on campus receives two blue recycling bins, and Pacific Lutheran University equips every residence hall with a recycling center. PLU is a school that takes pride in the steps it has taken – and is taking – in an effort to reach the goal of counter-balancing any carbon emissions by 2020. But PLU cannot reach this carbon neutrality goal if students don’t make an effort to help.

Since every residence hall gives its residents recycling bins and even a recycling center, there are few excuses to not recycle while living on campus.  Still, I often hear of people who don’t recycle. There are even those who refuse to recycle. I wonder why that is. I wonder if people simply do not care about reaching a goal or about helping to make PLU a greener institution.

It really is as simple as throwing that soda can or piece of paper or glass bottle into a recycling bin instead of the garbage can. Sure, sorting the recycling at the end of the week takes maybe five minutes, but I think we can all afford five minutes, even on a college schedule.

To put things into perspective, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Facilities, recycling a soda can saves 96 percent of the energy used to make a can from ore and produces 95 percent less air pollution and 97 percent less water pollution.  Also, recycling one ton of cardboard saves more than nine cubic yards of landfill space and producing recycled white paper creates 74 percent less air pollution, 35 percent less water pollution and 75 percent less processed energy than producing paper from virgin fibers.

Recycling only adds about five minutes to your schedule at the end of the week, and if you live in a residence hall, there is no reason to not do it. Take the five minutes out of your week and recycle.  If you are interested in stepping up your environmental game, I highly suggest getting more involved on campus with sustainability events, clubs and activities. To get involved with a sustainability-focused club on campus, G.R.E.A.N. club meets at 7 p.m. in the Anderson Univeristy Center Clubhouse.
Email them at grean@plu.edu.