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Eastfield has made great strides in becoming a greener campus in the past few years.
We’ve installed a wind turbine, introduced filling stations for water bottles and have an active Sustainability Team to help reduce waste around campus in addition to dozens of recycling bins.
We have also been recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation for our efforts in helping the environment here on campus.
Unfortunately, the continued contamination of many of our recyclables has hindered our endeavors.
Eastfield custodians have been seen lumping waste and recycling into the same containers despite our best efforts to keep items separate, though the crux of the issue does not lie with them.
They are instructed to separate trash and recycling, but no system has been put in place to hold those who improperly dispose of recycling accountable, no matter which side of the matter they are on.
Even if such a system were enforced, students and faculty have no way of reporting improper disposal. There is currently no forum for our community to address these issues.
A dedicated email address or phone number and public knowledge of recycling procedure could easily lessen the problem and allow people to voice their concern.
That’s not to say the problem begins and ends at disposal.
If the state of our recycling bins are anything to go by, far too many people on campus can’t seem to differentiate between trash and reusable materials.
Even bins clearly marked for cans and bottles are constantly stuffed with food waste and other obvious contaminants when a proper trash can is usually no less than 5 feet away.
As cliché as it sounds, we can’t hope to become a greener campus if we don’t also work together to make it happen. Whether a student is throwing a Subway wrapper in a blue bin or a custodian is tossing aluminum cans in with used paper towels and lunch scraps, both sides are responsible for proper assortment and disposal.
Educating students and faculty on what is or isn’t recyclable is ideal, but it can only go so far. As students and faculty on campus, it’s up to us to create a change.
We have no excuse for going so long without a proper accountability system for those in charge.