With the recent debate of whether to drill for oil off Florida’s coast, the question of environmentalism is hitting closer to home.
According to Dorothy “Dot” Monroe, program assistant for the recycling program on campus, USF provides many opportunities for students and staff to get involved with their environment by recycling trash. Located on Bull Run, bins are available for recycling paper, plastic and aluminum. But not enough people are taking advantage of the service.
Some students, such as senior Jay Patel, think recycling is inconvenient. Although he said he recycles cans and paper at times, while off campus he throws his trash into a normal garbage can.
“I do Park-N-Ride, and it’s very inconvenient for me to drive to Bull Run just to throw my recyclable products there,” Patel said. Many students know about the recycling services but feel their one plastic bottle or piece of paper won’t make a difference. But senior Anna Winska said even small efforts by individuals can amount to a lot after only a short period of time.
“If I recycle just one can, it doesn’t seem like a big deal,” said Anna Winska, a senior. “But one can for everyone on campus adds up to a lot.”
Some students don’t know where the bins are on campus so they don’t recycle. But according to Monroe, if someone wants to recycle, he or she will find a way to do it.
“It’s up to you to recycle,” said Monroe. “Sometimes you have to go beyond your doorstep to recycle.”
The recycling program has made many efforts to make recycling easier. Each building on campus has paper recycling bins, with the exception of the dorms, where the bins would be a fire hazard.
According to Monroe, people on campus throw anything from jelly doughnuts, to chewing gum, to Styrofoam cups into recycle bins.
“It’s very challenging,” she said.Patel said he feels that he shouldn’t have to drive to a recycling center just to recycle, although he is aware of the impact recycling has on the environment.
“I believe that recycling should be more accessible to meet everyone’s needs,” he said.
According to Monroe, the student involvement in the office buildings is great. They collected 535 tons of paper last year – approximately 1.5 tons a day. Each year the numbers continue to rise, but they are still not as high as they could be if everyone were involved.
“We will not get rich by recycling, but it is a form of waste management,” Monroe said.
Winska said she used to live in New York, where she was given five cents in exchange for each can.
“Now it’s just habit to throw my recyclable products into the recyclable bin,” she said.
But according to Patel, recycling is not a matter of monetary perks.
“I don’t think that I would recycle even if I got paid,” said Patel. “I feel that I am doing my part in the amount of time I have to save the environment.”
Monroe said that people who don’t care should be aware of the simple fact that we can take a small nation and feed it and fuel it just from our waste.
“Although we have nothing to be worried about now, we all need to be aware of what is going on in our environment and what it is doing to the world we live in,” said Monroe.
Winska agrees with Monroe and said she will continue recycling to do her part in helping the environment. The extra step, she said, is worth avoiding the easy way out.
“Recycling is like a speeding ticket,” Winska said. “You can speed and get to your destination maybe one minute earlier, but is it worth risking the ticket? I don’t think so. I take the extra few minutes to go to a recycling bin to help save the environment.”
Contact Kathleen Cyrwusat firstname.lastname@example.org