Blue bins, please

By Andrew Samuel

I am writing in complete and utter agreement to the editorial piece from Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2014 about the lack of recycling on campus. When the Campus Facilities survey comes out every year, I write in my comments that there needs to be more recycling readily available around campus. I should not have to walk halfway across campus to find a blue bin to deposit my bottles or old newspapers. The latter is probably the hardest to find a place to recycle. I live in Townhouses South, and while I always say the College learned from its mistakes with previous townhouses in South, it did not learn that having a dumpster is a necessity.

There also is little publicized about why this campus does not recycle. An alumnus of the college informed me why there is little recycling — when they pick up the recycling, they search a portion of it to look for things that cannot be recycled by the system, and if any of that is present, the whole batch is landfilled. This is not discussed, and while the dumpsters have labels on them, we are not going to search through our recycling to confirm what is in there once we trek to the dumpster.

And finally, as a civil engineering major, I have taken an environmental engineering course and studied the management of solid waste. The culture we have, both on campus and across the country, of landfill it and forget about it is unsustainable. Between styrofoam containers that will never decay to plastic bottles that will be sitting in those landfills for another 10,000 years before they are close to gone, we cannot ignore recycling any longer. A recent proposal for a waste-to-energy incinerator in Mercer County was immediately trashed (pun intended) when the proposal put it near Trenton and there was fear it would pollute the city and the county, and that nobody wants a trash smell in their county. Have these people been to Elizabeth? Or driven through Middlesex County when the wind blows the cover off part of the landfill in Edison? Europe incinerates most of their waste for energy to ensure maximum land utilization, I think it is time the U.S. did the same. Maybe the College could make part of the power plant an incinerator, but that is pushing it a little too far right now. Let’s try to get recycling bins first before an incinerator.

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