Annika Beal and Hayley Luster, Contributing Writers
As many may have noticed, recycling on campus has been discontinued. Many different theories and questions have come up regarding the reasons for the termination. Where has it gone? Does McKendree actually care about the environment? Well, we are here to set the record straight. McKendree is in the process of developing new ways to cut back on our waste, and to utilize reducing and not just recycling.
Recently, recycling on campus has ceased due to the amount of money the previously contracted company was charging McKendree. The previously contracted company, Always Green, was a single-stream recycling company that covered the entire McKendree campus. Single-stream recycling is a system in which all recyclables, including paper, plastics, metal, and glass are placed in the same bin and then collected and sorted at the facility. Always Green charged $70,000 and was labor-intensive, which makes their services more expensive compared to typical recycling companies. McKendree contracted this company for 2 years and received bi-weekly service where Always Green collected the recycling bins.
The academic buildings such as Old Main, Piper Academic Center, and 1828, were the main sources of paper product. When interviewed, Marilee Montanaro, Vice President of Administration and Finance, said, “We have at least 700 enveloppes get thrown away each month. This would be the perfect opportunity to utilize conservation.” Afterwards she added, “There has been talk about using those envelopes for the posters that are hung around campus in order to cut back on how much paper is being used once and then wasted.” The dining hall, known as Ames, serves a goood example of being waste-conscious and reducing their impact on the environment. There are reusable dishes and cups at the hungry diner’s disposal which reduces the paper and plastic products used. The dining hall also attempts to shop locally to cut down on packaged goods and provide a higher quality meal.
Currently, one of the main focuses of the campus is conservation. One solution for reducing paper would be to have the majority of classes being online which would in turn also decrease the need for recycling services. Budget reports show that the abundance of paper used is the reason why the university needed recycling services in the first place. With an increased movement to switch to online classes, there is less paper being used by the students and faculty. McKendree is also making an effort to reduce energy and water usage on campus due to its high expense so that the university can save money for other services.
A way to fix the recycling situation on campus is to teach students and faculty about campus conservation, and discuss different ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle on campus. The problems in the past revolved around students contaminating recycling bins with trash and lacking the knowledge of the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling. As Marilee Montanaro said, “One thing we seem to be very bad at as a collective community is our communication.” Faculty groups and student-led groups are attempting to make it easier for everyone to be more conservative and help the environment by communicating the importance of recycling and also spreading the awareness of it. If we are able to properly educate students on campus about the importance of conservation, and how to cut back on their waste, we could potentially change the entire dynamic of our community and inspire those around us to take pride in protecting the health and wellbeing of our planet.
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