Thursday, August 23, 2012

Why Should You Recycle?

It’s a fair question. In today’s fast paced world, we are constantly thinking of only one thing: the present. Our generation has grown to expect instant gratification; breaking news arrives instantly to our iPhones, Jimmy John’s promises to deliver lunch in just minutes. Sometimes we think about the future— like our relationships, or what our post-graduation plans are. But overall, any time we think of the future it’s all about us, isn’t it? We complain more about fuel prices than the imminent fact that one day, fuel will run out. But instead of getting involved, we ignore— or even deny— environmental problems, placing all the weight and responsibility on radicals and “Hippies.” The reality is, we’re all suffocating under the enormous weight of environmental waste.

You may think that your waste doesn’t matter. What’s a few soda cans or plastic bags going to do to the environment? In truth, though, we all leave a trail of waste that— combined with the other 312 million people living in America— has the power to do serious damage. This is called your carbon footprint, which is caused by the consumption of fossil fuels—such as coal, oil, natural gas, and petroleum. These fossil fuels are used daily to heat our houses, cook our meals, and make our cars run. The problem is they’re not renewable— they will run out. While we don’t suggest you stop heating your home or cooking meals, we do suggest cutting down your driving time by carpooling, walking, or biking. The option for these nonrenewable resources is to cut down consumption, but that isn’t true about all of our resources. Luckily, we have another option. Some resources are renewable, such as paper, aluminum, tin, and most plastics. That means that things we throw away daily— plastic bottles, soda cans, canned food, scrap papers— can be reused again.

Not only does this benefit the environment, it saves money that would’ve been spent putting these materials into a landfill.Recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions from solid waste, and decreases the use of fossil fuel energies used to produce new materials.  The way our campus handles waste and promotes sustainability will influence the city of Bowing Green, the state of Kentucky, the country, and eventually, the entire world.
A truck full of cardboard heading to the on-campus compactor to be recycled.
So, why should you recycle at WKU? Because the waste you accumulate does influence our campus, not to mention the environment. You have a carbon footprint that grows bigger with every cardboard box and soda can you throw in the dumpster. Your influence alone can help make WKU a more sustainable campus. Recycling is just a small way that you can contribute back to your campus, your home, and the environment. With over 150 single-stream recycling containers scattered around campus, not to mention the recycling bins provided to each dorm room and classroom, it’s impossible to find an excuse not to recycle. 
Start this year off right by remembering this: reduce, reuse, and recycle. Save money, help the environment, and reduce your carbon footprint just by recycling? Yes! It’s that easy.

With Recycled Love,
WKU Recycling and Surplus