by Kaci Jones
As a fellow college student, I know that recycling can be put on a back burner when you’re cramming for tests or running late, but did you realize that the five second decision or the few extra feet could make a huge impact on our campus? Today, our recycling rate at LSU is at a very low 37%, and it’s steadily decreasing. As students, it’s our responsibility to help the campus get to where it needs to be, which is well above 50%. With the help of students and the work of the sustainability department at LSU, we have a really great chance to raise the recycling rate.
Sarah Temple, the manager of LSU’s Campus Sustainability Initiatives, saus that not only does recycling reduce the amount of raw materials used, but it also helps decrease greenhouse gases.
I bet you didn’t know this? But to break things down a little bit: the waste that doesn’t get recycled goes to landfills. There are tons of these: multiple in each city even. But did you know that the landfills emit methane? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, methane is the second leading greenhouse gas emitted into the environment by human activities.
Did you know that recycling just one aluminum can could supply enough energy to watch the entire LSU football game? Well it can!
Game days here at LSU are also a big factor that hurt our campus with regards to recycling. Tailgaters aren’t aware of how much trash is actually disposed of and not recycled on game days.
Elizabeth Vowell, of WAFB news, wrote an article on September 21 stating that over 50 tons of trash are gathered every game day. That is about a pound of trash for every seat in Tiger Stadium. This is astonishing, and we need you to help solve this problem.
LSU sustainability has put out recycling bins all throughout campus, especially where game day traffic is high. So why not use them? They have also gone around to different classes to educate us, as students, about recycling. This is because The Recycling Foundation has been rejecting a high percentage of our trash that is being recycled, because students are recycling the wrong objects.
According to The Recycling Foundation, things that can be recycled are as follows: recyclable paper, newspaper and inserts, magazines, catalogs, junk mail and envelops, home office paper, phone books, folders, water bottles, milk jugs, etc. Things that cannot be recycled are: pizza boxes, wet, soiled, or food-stained paper, disposable places and cups, Styrofoam, paper towels and wrapping paper.
If you want to do more to help recycling, November 10-14 is considered Nation Recycling Week. I ask that during this span of time, you recycle everything that can be recycled. There are many different programs that will have events going on during this time at LSU. You can volunteer to recycle as much as possible after tailgating ends and on the Sundays after.
Student Government at LSU has also proposed a bill so that recycling bins can be put in Tiger Stadium. This is also recommended by Temple to increase the rate of recycling on game day.
5 tips to help your recycling experience be worthwhile:
1) Take time to learn the recycling policies around Baton Rouge. LSU goes through The Recycling Foundation.
2) Know what items can and cannot be recycled.
3) Reduce your waste, most especially with items that cannot be recycled.
4) Get a certain wastebasket just for recycling. At my apartment I have two baskets, one for trash and one for recycled goods that I bring to campus every week.
5) Reuse. For example, most of the time when I print, it isn’t for anything official. So I either print front and back to save paper or reuse paper that is around my apartment.
The LSU sustainability department is doing a lot to help solve this problem and get our campus where we need to be, but it all comes down to you. So when you mess up on your homework, finish off your coke, or clean out your binders at the end of the semester, please recycle and help get our campus back in the swing of things.
Every little effort counts and adds up to become a huge movement, so let’s get moving.