La Salle needs to start recycling

Commentary

Kylie McGovern, Editor

Header image: lasalle.edu

Can La Salle please start recycling? I will get into research and logistics in a moment, but I am genuinely embarrassed and upset that I am writing this article in 2022 amid a literal climate crisis. Why would an institution of higher learning and research refuse to invest in recycling? I will never understand. 

There are recycling cans on main campus (which I personally think are probably just dumped into a dumpster with the regular trash) and the university claims on this website that the Grounds Division at La Salle University consists of technicians who are very knowledgeable in their profession. They are dedicated to keeping the La Salle Community looking exceptional and free of debris. Their tasks include the following: lawn maintenance, landscaping, removal of trash, recycling and snow removal, as well as the Custodial Division at La Salle University, who are responsible for trash/recycling pickup. However, there aren’t recycling bins in any of the residence halls. 

Living close to campus, I take a bag of recycling home every now and then because my conscience literally cannot bear throwing away single-use plastic just because I don’t have access to recycling at my apartment. 

There are many benefits to recycling: according to Eco-Cycle,  many items that are recycled can be repurposed into different things rather than sitting in landfill for the next 100+ years. For example, steel products can be recycled over and over again. In addition, plastic can be recycled into so many different things like carpet, clothing, auto parts and new bottles. Similarly, paper is recycled into new paper. Some types of paper can be recycled up to seven times. Just by recycling about 30 percent of waste every year, Americans could save the equivalent of 11.9 billion gallons of gasoline and reduce the greenhouse gas equivalent of taking 25 million cars off the road. In addition, the process of recycling can also create jobs as for every one job at a landfill, there are ten jobs in recycling processing and 25 jobs in recycling-based manufacturing.

This lack of proper and adequate recycling at La Salle is not the only issue — the University is being wasteful in other ways. The lights in the business building are kept on 24 hours a day, seven days a week! Also, can we talk about the straws and plastic utensils in the dining hall? This article is my call to action for La Salle University — both the administration and the student body — to put time and perhaps even money into making the university more sustainable. I learn about climate change in my classes and then exit the classroom to see vending machines full of plastic bottles that we do not have the resources to recycle, which seems a little backwards to me.

I think there are various solutions to La Salle’s recycling and sustainability issues, starting with turning off the lights in Founders Hall, providing recycling in residence halls and using more reusable materials in our dining halls. This is just a list of options I thought of in about 13 seconds. 

I know that there are perhaps logistical and financial barriers to these solutions on the front end, but in the future  if the university puts some funds into these things, the effects will certainly pay off both financially and environmentally. To both the higher ups at La Salle and its student body: let’s get better, because I do not want my grandchild to die from climate change or to be living the same non-recycled plastic in 50 years. If this enrages you also and you have answers regarding sustainability at La Salle, feel free to email me.

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