March 20, 2019 | 29° F

Proper waste disposal lacking on campus

Letter to the editor

As a group, the Environmental House on Douglass Campus has a few concerns about the disposal of trash and recycling on campus. We have noticed a common occurrence with either maintenance staff and/or students demonstrating poor trash and recycling habits. For example, there are numerous times either in the residence halls or walking through campus when we have seen students placing plastic water bottles in the trash when there are recycling containers right next to them. Furthermore, throughout our time at Rutgers, we have noticed that the maintenance staff has combined both the trash and recyclable items in the same plastic bag to be thrown away. Our first question: Why is this happening? A possible response is that maybe some people generally don’t care because they think that it gets sorted out for them or that ultimately trash and recycling cross paths somewhere. In the residence halls, there are three separate containers labeled “Trash,” “Paper/Office/Newsprint” and “Glass/Plastic Aluminum.” One would think that students could properly distinguish what types of plastic can or can’t be recycled in addition to what is considered trash. What are possible ways we can change this continuous problem on campus? Through educating, advocating and promoting awareness.

In addition, we have noticed a specific issue in regard to take-out containers at the dining halls. The plastic containers and large pizza boxes are not beneficial to our environment since they end up in the trash. In addition, the food options offered for take-out are not helpful to our students’ health. The accumulation of plastic containers and plastic bags from take-out meals sitting in the garbage not only increases the vulnerability of our environment to the hazards of non-biodegradable waste, but also costs a lot for a university that already has a tight budget with respect to dining services. One way to alleviate environmental and financial stress on Rutgers is to allocate reusable Tupperware containers for students to fill with food from take-out or the campus-center grills, which has been done in past years. This program will help Rutgers encourage environmental sustainability in which all students are able to participate.


This letter was written by members of the Douglass Residential College Environmental House.

By members of Douglass Residential College Environment House

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