The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



New club leads recycling initiatives at SMC

| Tuesday, September 24, 2019

In anticipation of the Global Climate Strike, final documents were drafted to establish a new Eco Belles club on Wednesday, which aims to encourage Belles to make sustainable choices and lead recycling and other sustainability initiatives on campus.

Rebecca Klaybor, a Saint Mary’s junior and president of Eco Belles, said she was inspired to start the club after she took a costume shop class taught last semester by Melissa Bialko, professional specialist in costume design in the SMC Program of Theater and now faculty advisory for Eco Belles.

“This class discussed ethics in the fashion industry so that’s what sparked my true interest in the environment along with climate change complications,” Klaybor said.

Saint Mary’s junior and Eco Belles vice president Emily Emerson said she noticed a lack of sustainability clubs on campus and wanted to change that.

Emerson, Klaybor and Bialko began to work together last year to develop sustainability initiatives for the Saint Mary’s community, which eventually culminated in the founding of Eco Belles.

“We’re working with a group called TerraCycle,” Emerson said. “They have a whole bunch of free recycling programs, and eventually we would like to be able to use their boxes, where you can put anything besides food waste in and they will figure out a way to recycle it for you.”

She said though the program is great, buying and shipping boxes is expensive and they are trying to raise the money to participate in the box program. However, other recycling initiatives led by the group are already active on campus.

“We’re also currently working with Nike and H&M,” Emerson said. “Nike will take any kind of shoes in any condition and make them into different clothes, new shoes and even basketball courts. H&M recycles fabrics and is working with the theater department because we use a lot of different fabrics and we have a lot of scraps.”

TerraCycle has multiple different recycling programs that Eco Belles are participating in, she said, including programs to recycle used Brita filters, contact lenses, razors, oral hygiene, clean makeup products, personal products and the packaging in which all of these items are sold.

“You don’t really think about [the waste] until you see that there are ways you can recycle [these products] instead of just throwing them in the garbage,” Emerson said. “I hope this makes the campus much more sustainability-minded and recognize where things are being just thrown in the trash when they don’t need to be. And just being more conscious of how much waste we produce as a campus is huge. This is a necessary step to take as a school, because it can be broadened across the tri-campus community and to other colleges across Indiana.”

The main way that Saint Mary’s students can get involved, Klaybor said, is to start collecting items to donate and recycle. On campus, there are bins outside of the costume shop where students can bring donations or recyclable items. Eco Belles will then organize and send that collection to the proper place.

Eco Belles meetings are every other Wednesday at 8 p.m. in the Saint Mary’s costume shop in Moreau. Klaybor invites everyone to bring their own mugs for coffee and tea, as well as whatever donations and recycling they may have.

“I hope that people will learn that being eco-friendly is easier than what people think,” Klaybor said. “People just need to be taught how easy it is to recycle throughout their day. I hope that campus can learn that being eco-friendly isn’t that difficult, and there are small things that can make a big difference in the long run.”

Tags: ,

About Johannah Ward

Contact Johannah