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viewpoint

Stop recycling so much

| Thursday, November 30, 2017

Being from the great city of Austin, Texas, I’ve had the rules of recycling burned into my brain by people left and right. I’m not going to lie, I’ve recycled things I should not have out of ignorance before — but, in a city that was devoted to sustainability, I have since grown out of that ignorance and learned how the whole blue bin thing works. When I see people throwing all their week’s waste into the recycling and saying, “It’s just a lot easier for me this way,” I recognize that there’s more to be learned on the subject.

On a campus committed to incredible green initiatives here and abroad, you’d expect to see students doing this one simple thing right. However, there are things that both the University and students can do better. The University needs to update its recycling posters that say, “Recycle almost everything,” which includes a list of things that cannot be recycled. In addition, students need to stop using the recycling bin like it’s a second trash can.

If I ever tell someone that you can’t recycle something like styrofoam, they try to trump my argument with an appeal to the authority of those official, misinforming posters. Let’s be clear, styrofoam can physically be recycled, but there are drawbacks. Because of this, that packing material, coffee cup or whatever styrofoam you use, belongs in the trash can. Pizza boxes pose another confusing situation. Notre Dame’s “Game Day Be Green” website says you can recycle “clean pizza boxes,” but let’s be real, that is a mythical creature on par with unicorns. The oils in the grease-soaked cardboard prevent the water-based recycling process from working. Nevertheless, I’ll see the blue bins filled with dozens of pizza boxes every weekend. It’s not that difficult to put them in the trash can, they are literally inches away. 

I wish I could tell you that Notre Dame currently has clear answers for other recycling questions you have, but for now, I’d suggest that you educate yourself with outside resources like WM, and stop recycling so much that can’t be recycled.

Ellis Riojas
freshman
Nov. 28

 

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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  • warmupthediesel

    You could’ve just said “be careful what you throw in the recycling bin.” Instead, you filled your letter with personal information about yourself and you ended your note with a condescending tone.

    If you want to minimize your impact on the environment, kill yourself. Don’t talk down to your entire community from your little soapbox.