Recycling on campus was the issue at hand when Water Watch club members gathered to speak with Amanda Radosti, Environmental Programs specialist at the College, on Tuesday, Nov. 7.
Five members of Water Watch, the only environmental group at the College, spent the hour-long meeting expressing their concerns to Radosti, who works in the department of Occupational Safety and Environmental Services, about recycling in residence halls, academic buildings and outdoors.
The problem of recycling in residence halls was brought forward by Meagan Terry, sophomore sociology and psychology major, who said that bottles and cans are not being correctly disposed of by Building Services employees. She also added that the bins in the trash rooms in her dorm, Norsworthy Hall, are not correctly labeled.
In addition, glass, plastic bottles and cans must be placed into bins with a clear bag in order to be recycled, but not every recycling container comes with one, according to Valentina Cordero, sophomore international studies major.
Radosti acknowledged that there is no consistent, campus-wide labeling system for designating recycling bins in residence hall trash rooms throughout campus.
The members of Water Watch also took issue with the absence of recycling bins next to some garbage cans in academic buildings.
“My goal is to see a recycling bin next to every trash bin on campus,” Terry said after the meeting.
Radosti explained that many of the bins are moved in order to prop doors open. “A lot of containers are just placed here and there,” she said.
Terry also said that there are no exterior trash cans anywhere on campus other than in the Alumni Grove, according to Radosti.
“We are in the process of trying to correct all these issues,” Radosti said. “With the state budget cuts, each bureau, each department is forced to prove itself.”
When asked what other issues she was working on in addition to recycling, Radosti asked, “How much time you got?” She reassured everyone present at the meeting that despite her many responsibilities, “everything that is regulated is (the department of Occupational Safety and Environmental Services’s) number one priority.”
Radosti added that, in comparison to other schools, “we’re doing very well.”
“We were inspected by the (Department of Environmental Protection). And their response was ‘you guys are doing very good,'” she said.
Despite this praise, some Water Watch members were still not satisfied with the recycling effort made on campus.
“The department could make some self-improvement,” Mary Starkey, a freshman member of Water Watch, said.
“I definitely was surprised to hear that we are doing better than a lot of colleges in New Jersey,” Terry said.
Water Watch is predominately dedicated to “improving the water quality in the Trenton area,” according to its Web site, but Terry, who is also a senator at-Large for the Student Government Association, decided to invite members of the club to the meeting with Radosti.
“I joined Water Watch because I’m really interested in ways to improve and help the environment, and I really feel that recycling plays a huge role in addition to water conservation and reducing pollution,” Terry said.
Terry was also concerned about the issue of food waste in regard to Sodexho, but Radosti explained that Sodexho has its own recycling process.
Terry and Water Watch are not finished with their efforts to improve the state of recycling on campus.
“There will definitely be another meeting to follow up, since I’d like to progress with this issue throughout the year,” Terry said.
Terry emphasized that it is students who have to lead the effort. “When I never can find a recycling bin or see that the ones that I do find have . trash in them and nothing can be done about it, I get mad,” she said. “Part of that is a student’s responsibility, though.”