Did you know that up to 70% of the waste in our homes could be recycled or reused in some capacity? In fact, the issue becomes exacerbated when you head off to college, as student life can be very demanding – but, with only a few small changes, you can ensure that recycling becomes second nature to you and your classmates. Here are some tips to help you ensure that you and your fellow students can implement a successful recycling program on campus.
The first step is to get others on board. There is certainly power in numbers, and you can make more of an impact by working with others to improve recycling at your college. Find others who are interested in your cause using Meet Up or school bulletins. By working together, you’ll be able to spread the word quickly and put together useful programs that will encourage waste reduction at your school.
Once you have established your recycling council, your recycling action plan should begin with a waste audit. This will determine how much waste is being created out of recyclable materials. You can start on a small scale by targeting the main areas where waste is produced: sports facilities, common areas, residents and cafeterias.
The idea is to go through your waste to find out how much of your trash could have been recycled, reused or composed. It’s a dirty job, but this is why getting a group involved is important. With several volunteers, you can make it more of a fun and collaborative process.
Once you’ve determined what needs the most improvement, be sure to action initiatives based on these findings. For example, if you find many plastic bottles in your bins, then you can start a campaign that educates your fellow students about recycling plastics. You can enlist in creative students to create signs that will serve as friendly reminders, and even create fun events that get everyone thinking more about keeping their waste-free.
A great example of this type of initiative is the RecycleMania program launched by Reduction in Motion used by University of Richmond. A waste audit was conducted at one of the university’s basketball games to determine a way to collect recyclable and compostable materials. By making a few small changes, they were able to ensure that 87% less waste was going to landfills.
Even though a big push like this may make a significant impact on your recycling campaign, it is important that keep the momentum going. Students across campus should be well aware of the small changes that they can make in their everyday lives to reduce waste.
There are plenty of ways to make this possible, for example:
All students should have recycling bins in their individual dorms, rather than just a waste basket. This will make them think twice when throwing items in the trash, and first consider whether it is recyclable. Another great ongoing plan is to promote the use of reusable utensils and containers. At the cafeteria and sporting events, it is very easy to use the plastic items that are available but it is important to make use of eco-friendly options that don’t need to go in the bin directly after use.
With just a few small changes, your college can vastly improve its recycling program. Working together with your colleagues, you can make a huge impact in waste reduction on campus and ensure your college has an efficient recycling program.