Onus to recycle lies with USF and students

Resident students who want to recycle better have some spare time on their hands. The collection of separated waste from residence halls, instead of being the responsibility of USF, currently relies on the efforts of motivated students.

That’s not to say that USF does not have a recycling program. The Tampa campus actually houses one of the last recycling centers in the city, located on Sycamore Drive. At this location, receptacles are provided for newspaper, glass and plastic. This is in addition to the sporadically sited aluminum and paper bins in buildings across campus.

Every Monday night, the aluminum and paper recycling bins are put out for collection. After a single compactor truck collects it in the morning, Dot Monroe, the program assistant for the Physical Plant, replaces the bins in its centralized locations. Aluminum goods are sent to Gulf Coast Metal, while the paper goods go to the Smurfit-Stone Company. “We receive $10 per ton of paper collected,” Monroe said. Physical Plant funding made up roughly less than one percent of the Education and General Budget for 2002-03, so the program relies on the money collected from the recycled goods.

Tom Kane, director of university housing, admits that there really is not a recycling program for the campus residence halls. “There is always a group of students at the start of the semester who are excited about recycling, and we are willing to accommodate them,” Kane said. Accommodating students means providing recycling bins and student volunteers to collect the waste. However, according to Kane, by the middle of the semester students’ enthusiasm for recycling wanes. Unless students are willing to pay more, the program will continue to rely on the goodwill of volunteers.

As a state institution, USF should promote the wider benefits that accrue from recycling. A program that makes it easy for the burgeoning on-campus population to recycle without penalizing students financially would be a welcome addition to the university’s existing program. But such a program is only worthwhile if students show a commitment to recycling that endures past Labor Day. Simply driving to Sycamore with their separated goods would be a start.