Connecticut College News
Reduce, Reuse, Recyclemania! - By Nora Swenson ´1202/11/2009
It seems there are two kinds of people in this world: those who recycle, and those who don´t think twice about throwing their Starburst wrappers on the ground. Fortunately, through a program supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency´s WasteWise program and the National Recycling Coalition (NRC), colleges and universities across the country have the opportunity to register and take on the issue of recycling, as well as to be recognized for their efforts. Commencing this year on Sunday January 18, schools participated in recycle "trials" in which schools were allowed to "get the hang of collecting and reporting their recycling and trash weights without the pressure of the formal competition," as the website for the competition stated. After the two initial trial weeks, many schools delved into the competition, with the leading top ten schools of this year all reaching amounts of 52 percent or more of a cumulative recycling rate, in comparison to their waste. Among the top ten, Connecticut College placed sixth, superseded by larger schools like University of Tennessee-Martin, Richland College, and California State University-San Marcos. With over five hundred schools competing, what exactly can Connecticut College students, faculty and staff do to help continue topping the ranks? Pat Wallace ´09, SGA Environmental Representative and prevalent supporter of the competition, offered some tips on making the most of the challenge: "When you go out to buy beer, buy bottles! No just kidding. Recyclemania has two main parts to it on which we are being judged. The first is waste minimization, which basically means that we need to cut down on what we throw away as much as possible, and the second is recycling, which means that we need to recycle as much as possible. A big way that we can achieve both goals is to make sure that things that can be recycled actually do get recycled. This included bottles, cans, number 1 and 2 plastics, and mixed paper." He added that a "good rule of thumb to go by if you´re not sure if something is ´mixed paper´ is to see if you can rip it. If you can, and if doesn´t have any plastic on it, the chances are pretty good that you can recycle it." Wallace thinks Connecticut College is, and shall remain capable of leading the way for recycling. "Conn is a recycling leader because we have administrators, faculty, staff, and most importantly students who care about the environment," said Wallace. "As someone who is heavily immersed in the environmental scene on campus, I am always surprised by the enthusiasm and creativity of the students, and by the willingness of the faculty, administration and staff to help make students´ ideas a reality." Connecticut College, outside of the Recyclemania competition, actively seeks ways in which to effectively reduce, reuse and "trim its waste." Recycle bins are placed in dorms, classrooms and offices throughout campus. Meanwhile, most food is also recycled, composted and donated to local piggeries. Although the school provides many services to students to recycle, it is ultimately up to students as individuals to carry out the tasks. "If you see an area on campus that you think needs a recycling bin that doesn´t have one, like in your dorm´s hallway or in your room please tell either your House Environmental Representative or me," said Wallace.