Guest post by all-star Sierra Club intern, Sydney Hayden.
As a student at one of the largest universities in one of the MOST LIBERAL cities in the country, one would reasonably expect there to be a fully established, functional and organized recycling program in all student populated areas. When I came to UT I was shocked to discover how many people just threw away EVERYTHING. No sorting and no recycling. Talk about keeping Austin Green! I thought these students were being irresponsible and lazy. But then I realized, they don’t really have a choice.
Last year, I lived at a large apartment complex in the heart of West Campus, aka “Student Central.” I noticed that they advertised themselves as being a “green” complex because they offered recycling to residents. So I decided I would take full advantage of that, because I was sick of lugging seven bags full of my roommates’ and my recyclables to my mom’s house every week. I searched and searched for these so called “recycling bins” for quite a while until I decided to just give up and ask the leasing office where the heck they were. They directed me to the dumpster area in the alley behind the complex. There it was! Not there they were, because there was only one, single bin. And to top things off, it wasn’t even one of those large blue bins like regular houses have. It was a tiny rectangular bin that said “newspaper only.” Too bad I read the New York Times online.
On a similar note, I recently contacted another popular student apartment complex to ask about their recycling program. Here is what they said:
“We do have recycling bins at each of our locations outside near each dumpster. I admire your concern, as recycling is very important! :)”
Well that’s great! The only problem is, one or two bins for an entire complex isn’t going to cut it. Not to mention, the areas where the dumpsters are located are seriously smelly and creepy. Nobody wants to go take a stroll down the dark alleyway to recycle his or her newspapers. Nice try, West Campus.
I know it may seem a little ambitious, but would it really be so hard to put a single one of those small recycling bins in each apartment unit? Think of how much LESS trash there would be for the complex to pick up each week. Or, if that’s too hard for the city of Austin, maybe they could at least put a few LARGE recycling bins near where people bring their trash bags. Spectacularly simple? I think so.
I’d like to end things off with a quotation I saw on the back of disposable fans some organization was giving away at the downtown Farmer’s Market a few weeks ago.
It said: “RECYCLE. Seriously… it’s not that hard.”
I’m sick of having to bring all my recyclables to my mom’s. I mean I love my mom, but seriously West Campus, it’s not that hard.