posted 2012-05-13 00:48:23

Hunter Green Scene

Reuse, renew, recycle

Kaitlyn McKendry

Staff Writer

When talking about environmental sustainability, it’s impossible to ignore recycling. Reducing and reusing are always important. Adopting good recycling habits is one of the easiest ways to be a little greener during the time you spend at Hunter. We, the students, have the power to reduce Hunter’s carbon footprint every time we throw out our trash. I am not suggesting we all become trash police, rather that we are always conscious of our trash and where exactly it is going.

Looking around Hunter, it is clear that we have ample trash and recycling receptacles. Unfortunately, what’s even more clear is that we aren’t doing the best job at using them.

Hunter has several different types of receptacles, which can make it quite confusing when it comes time to recycle. There are the standard silver cans, beige plastic cans, colored recycling bins and several recycling stations. The issue for Hunter students is not a shortage of receptacles, but the locations and distribution of them. For instance, if you are on the basement level of the library (a place where open drinks aren’t allowed in the first place) you will find three different bins for recycling cans but not one receptacle meant for paper.

“Spread throughout the rest of the school are mismatched, incomplete, unlabeled containers,” says Environmental Studies major Michael Keister. “It seems the answer to fix this problem is clear, and I doubt the cost to fix it would be enormous. It probably would not cost much more than what it cost to fix one or two of the broken escalator sections.” Keister expressed, as many Hunter students have, the desire for a more complete and clear recycling system on campus.

Every floor of Hunter West, East, North and Thomas Hunter are well equipped, maybe too equipped, with regular silver garbage cans. This increases the likelihood of students throwing out their recycling in the first can they see, instead of holding onto items that could otherwise be recycled. Even worse, most floors have only one type of recycling bin, guaranteeing inadequate sorting. The floors of each building at Hunter have the same general floorplan, and many green- minded students have called for a uniform way of distributing bins. If students are sure of where each type of bin is, and it is the same on every floor, recycling could very well become a no brainer for the Hunter community.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, remember that knowledge is key. For those of you who are still unsure which bin is which, there are some basics you should know. Most of the bins at Hunter are labeled on the top, and some have openings that are shaped like the waste that is supposed to go in them. If the top of a waste can has a small circular hole, you can go ahead and assume it’s meant for cans, and not a challenge of your trash-squishing abilities. As a general rule, green bins are for paper and blue bins are for a mixture of bottles, cans and foil.

If you still need guidance then the best place for you to recycle is at one of Hunter’s recycling stations, which are located in areas of high traffic, like outside the 7th floor entrance to the library. These recycling stations are great for the confused recycler because they are have a labeled compartment for all types of waste and are generally fail-proof.

If you know you are one of those people that has careless recycling habits, remember that you are working against the many students that care about the fate of our trash. It is frustrating to know that one student’s carelessness could ruin the effort of many. Undeclared major Alice Bishop, 19, feels that, “Recycling at Hunter probably doesn’t work. It doesn’t seem like students care. If someone throws one piece of disgusting trash in a bin of recyclable paper, the efforts of all the students who took the time to carefully recycle is pointless. It only takes one person to ruin it for everyone.” So remember, we are in this together. Trash is important. That glass bottle you failed to recycle will last about a million years longer than you will.