From apathy to awareness: USU initiates new Recycling Week

Recycle Week (2 of 5)

A Utah State University-sponsored recycling awareness event began today in the Taggart Student Center’s Hub.

The event was a collaboration between by USU’s Recycling center, Dining Services and Student Sustainability Office and will take place every day this week from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. During these times, volunteers will be available in the Hub to instruct students about recycling correctly.  

New recycling bins will have sensors with 25 phrases thanking people who recycle.

Bins with lids will replace the the old ones as well as the shadow box signs that were there before.

“The new lids in the Hub will require a little more effort from students. For those who want to recycle, it won’t be a problem,” said Dining Services executive director Alan Andersen.

Inspiration for the event arose as a result of some of the campus community placing recyclable items in the incorrect bins.

“Recycle awareness week is about informing the campus community and hopefully reducing the apathy about recycling,”Andersen said.  

To make recycling make economic sense, the USU Recycling Center relies on students who eat in the Hub to sort recyclable items.

Andersen mentioned that the public wouldn’t want to pay extra for food items to employ someone to sort.

“We can’t pay to sort. We rely on the consumer to sort,” Andersen said.

USU Dining Services is making an effort to make recycling socially acceptable. Andersen wants students to be willing to recycle.

The problem has become noticeable to students.

“I look inside different bins and there’s stuff in there that should be in other bins. It’s a problem,” said Ethan Hammer, freshman conservation and restoration ecology major.

Recycling and waste intern Paige Morgan initiated an audit system where students will be able to see how much recycled materials are being collected.

Morgan will use a scale showing the amount of material being recycled. Contamination will be sorted out. Then, the actual recycled materials will be weighed and the rate of contaminated material or recycled material will be announced to the public.  

“My goal for the audit is to see that there is an improvement from the contamination to recycling ratio. I hope that recycling is a lot higher than the contamination and that the recycling is highly usable,” Morgan said.

Morgan said she is grateful for the 17 volunteers who stepped up to help raise recycling awareness.  

There are many sustainability organizations on campus that brought in volunteers, including the USU Sustainability Club, the student sustainability office and the Student Organization for Society and Natural Resources, as well as natural resources classes.

Hammer said he grew up loving service and is passionate about sustainability.  For him, this event is “a good combination of both.”  

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Photo by Ethan Babcock