Recycling issues still being sorted out

Several years ago, Waynesburg University began to tackle the issue of recycling by placing some recycling bins in campus residence halls and in their buildings. Today, not much has changed.

Since 2014, Janet Paladino, a professor of biology, has tried to fight for more recycling education on campus.

She referenced the prior article and stated that in 2017 they had a plan to educate students, but facilities were overwhelmed.

“[The recycling initiative] hasn’t changed since then; it probably has gotten worse,” Paladino said.

To determine which initiatives Waynesburg has aimed towards tackling the recycling concerns, Ryan Smith assistant director of Student Services, said the entire campus now has two workers committed to the recycling efforts.

These workers work every Tuesday and Thursday from 2 to 4 p.m., so they work approximately four hours each.

Their duties include collecting all recycling in academic buildings, residence halls and two sheds on campus.

Smith said he is unaware if they have any more plans to add additional recycling receptacles.,

“Recycling has increased and the reason why I say that is just because how frequently it is filling,” Smith said. “At one point, the recyclers were only working once a week, and now the position has become twice a week.”

Paladino said she is quite optimistic and believes strongly that Waynesburg can do better with increased efforts by all.

In a study she conducted in 2017, she found that Waynesburg only recycles two percent of its waste, and she believes many students are getting discouraged after trying to fight for better recycling techniques and efforts around campus.

Smith said he believes students could
potentially have the power to change the recycling around campus.

“In general, if students are looking to get involved, or if students want the campus to be more environmentally friendly, it’s the voice of the students who do things and can make the big changes. It’s that grassroots initiative. If students come together and want to see a change in that aspect; if they want to see improvements in that piece, the students should speak out and talk to Student Senate in order to move things forward,”  Smith said.

For Paladino, it’s more than just recycling — it’s helping to give back to the Earth.

“I guess its a way of feeling good about doing a service for your planet. It’s a good way to promote and help the environment,” Paladino said. “If you recycle you’re not just throwing your plastic in the trash; instead, you are contributing to saving resources, recycling resources, and reusing sources.”