A legacy of garbage – campus recycling bins go to waste

Socrates calls to the barkeep: “Another glass of hemlock, please.”

Every great civilization has left in its wake lasting remnants that allude to a fondness for intricacy, a keen understanding and the depth of perception required to withstand the test of time. Follow the trail of tourists decked out in Bermuda shorts and fanny packs as they crowd and trample what remains of long-forgotten eras.

In witnessing such farcical episodes, one can’t help but wonder: when global civilization has come and gone, what will become the hallmark of the technological age? The answer is damning: mountains of plastic junk, while transient in value, will outlast any of our most inspiring structures, and in volume, too, does our refuse surpass any of our finest creations. Yes, ours will be recalled by the future’s wiser life-forms as the Empire of Trash.

Taking up a less sobering cadence, let us approach the issue of reducing waste from a more intimate angle. Better yet, let us consider the situation right here on campus; despite the presence of bins designated for recyclables, our administrative policy conveniently makes the need for a legitimate recycling program obsolete – any bin found to be contaminated by a non-recyclable item must therefore be treated as general waste.

Of course, one could very well intuit from the lack of presence of any recycling trucks that something is awry. Who do we hold accountable? The easiest solution is to blame it on the uninformed students, who, for no fault other than their ignorance, don’t bother to make the conscious effort to put their waste in the proper receptacle. Result: the College puts up fliers to promote awareness, in an attempt to pass it off as an honest effort.

This term “awareness,” while it fares well with champagne socialists and lifestyle activists, does not fool anyone. A new breed of environmentalists recognizes that there can be no relegation of responsibility, neither to individuals nor future generations.

Changes need to be made within the administration, and we are willing to supplement any deficiencies, provided that this issue of crafting a respectable (or superior!) recycling program is approached optimistically, and not dismissively. Better yet, I’d like to see the College lay the groundwork for a new concept in higher education: one in which students work within their concentrations to provide the theory, research and results to be implemented into our administrative policies.

As the College strives to reach national acclaim, a comprehensive recycling program should be a no-brainer. It’s high time we acknowledge that what is environmentally sound is also economically advantageous in the long term – it’s a way to turn heads and attract the brightest minds. It is simply common-sensical.

If we understand nature as the ultimate symbol and treat it with sanctity, as has been practiced in bygone eras, we will realize that it is our most valuable resource, one which ought not to be opposed. To do otherwise is to turn away from the demands being made in our times and to back away from our collective duty. Or shall we settle for a plastic epitaph?

Information from – envirolink.org