Trash Talking How many times have you finished lunch and looked for somewhere to recycle your trash around campus? For the most part, you would not find a recycling receptacle available and you would have to resort to throwing your aluminum cans and plastic bottles in a regular trashcan, shipping them off to landfills to rot. This scenario is becoming more common as our student population increases and funding for our recycling program stays the same. According to LSUâ€™s Facility Services website, we have over 250 main buildings but only 130 recycling containers to facilitate the massive amount of student waste we produce daily. There are many common misconceptions about recycling. You have probably heard recycling is more expensive, one person cannot make a difference in the long run and overall, it is just too much work. I will argue that these misconceptions could not be further from the truth. LSU needs to implement a more effective recycling program or our Earth will continue to deteriorate. How much do we actually waste? Amazingly, the United States produces 251 million tons of trash a year, recycling only 33% or 82 million tons of it (Williams). As part of our data collection team, I have witnessed firsthand how many recyclables are being sent to landfills because receptacles are not readily available or are not emptied often enough. For ten days my group and I monitored popular classrooms around campus to calculate the average amount of waste removed from the University as a whole. Our group decided we would only glance into the bins, not checking to see if other recyclables were hiding under the waste; we found that there were about four recyclable items in every room we surveyed, adding up to about a thousand recyclables foolishly tossed away every day. These are items that can be easily reused for anything, but instead
they are being thrown and shipped to a landfill where it could take decades, even centuries to decompose. Recycling glass, paper, plastic or aluminum is significantly cheaper than just tossing it out in the trash. One of our research groups found that, on average, it costs about $50 to send items to the landfill, $65 to incinerate it but only $30 to recycle. If more people participated n the recycling process, we would never have to produce many common products from its original source. Recycling would lower production costs. Eventually, consumers would start seeing these benefits as they pick up their everyday household items made from recyclable materials, at a cheaper rate. In order to start seeing the benefits of cheaper goods, we must act swiftly while we still can. There are a number of ways the general public could be educated about the effects of recycling. At LSU, ignorance toward recycling is no excuse for continuously harming our environment. All students should be educated about the benefits of recycling. Every hall at LSU should have adequate recycling bins, with more readily available in highlytrafficked areas. The Philadelphia Eagles have emerged as the “green leader” of the NFL since implementing their own “Go Green” program in 2003 (Lurie). Their new state-ofthe-art stadium is wind powered and uses cups and utensils made from corn-based materials. By following this example, Tiger Stadium could be the first stadium in the SEC to significantly lower our impact on the environment. If we act as a University as a whole, we can significantly decrease the amount of waste we produce. In order to create a safe and healthy environment to bring our future generateion in to, it is of utmost importance to being recycling as soon as possible. Whether as a group, school or nation we need to educate our peers and protect the future of our planet.
Recycling will help us create a greener Earth, saving valuable money, precious time and nonrenewable energy.
Works Cited Lurie, Christian & Jeffrey. “It’s Time For Some Serious Trash Talk”. Philadelophia Eagles. 19 February 2009 http://www.philadephiaeagles.com/gogree/news.asp. Williams, Adams. “Recycling by the Numbers: The Good, Bad and Ugly of Statistics and Comparisons”. 19 February 2009 http://sustainablog.org/2008/08/22/recyclingby-the-numbers-the-good-bad-and-ugly-of-statistics-and-comparisons/.