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Recycle as last resort

Letter to the Editor | Friday, April 25, 2008

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. This catch phrase rings like “an apple a day” or “stop, drop and roll.” It seems, though, that the first two steps of this trio are often quickly forgotten.

Now don’t get me wrong, I support recycling, and, as a resident of Cavanaugh Hall, I look upon our “Trash is Art” Recyclemania trophy with fierce pride. But with the contest over, and St. Ed’s and Walsh left wishing they’d stolen a few more bags of cans from BP, I think Notre Dame is called to bigger and better things.

Did you know that 96 billion pounds – over 25 percent – of America’s food goes to waste each year? Or that Americans go through 28 billion plastic water bottles each year? While recycling is clearly preferable to adding to landfills, even more energy is saved when people reuse what they use, and use less to begin with.

In honor of Earth Week, I ask each member of the Notre Dame community, tree-hugger or not, to commit to these ten very simple tips for conserving energy and decreasing waste.

1. Your computer should sleep when you do. Those 4 a.m. instant messages are not that important.

2. Take a walk, take a bike, take a bus. Avoid driving whenever possible, and consider a hybrid when you hit the real world.

3. Take shorter and cooler showers.

4. Tell Subway you don’t need that plastic bag that you’ll get your sandwich out of three seconds later.

5. Bring a mug to get your coffee. Some places will even save you some Flex points for doing so!

6. Print double-sided.

7. Get a mesh grab-and-go bag and give up on the paper ones.

8. Get a water filter instead of buying bottled, and drink from a reusable container.

9. Only take what you will eat at the dining hall, and choose locally grown products.

10. Then, and only then, please recycle!

Michelle Byrne


Cavanaugh Hall

April 25