Recycling concerns hit campus

Alex Retzlaff, Staff Writer

Students and staff members alike at Wayne State College have voiced their concerns about an ongoing recycling issue on campus.

All across campus, recycling has become more of a struggle than a cooperative effort. Pizza boxes, plastic, and even glass has found its way into multiple recycling bins, undermining the efforts of those who recycle on a daily basis.

Jill Bessmer, one of the numerous custodians at WSC, feels lack of recycling knowledge is to blame.

“I don’t know if the people on campus, the kids, the professors, or the employees don’t know how to exactly do the recycling,” Bessmer said. “When I look into the recycling cans, I’m finding food, I’m finding liquids, and I’m finding glass bottles in there. So I don’t know if there is an issue of whether they aren’t understanding what should and should not be put in [the bins.]”

Recycling bins are located all over campus, though a possible theory may be that some see recycling bins as simply another trash can. However, trash in recycling bins contaminates recycled material, forcing community workers to haul the contaminated material. Students such as senior Josiah Boneschans saw the hauling of recycling material as unfair to everyone.

“With the CARB, Student Senate pays to have the CARB available to students,” Boneschans said. “Now [Facility Services] they don’t charge us for the recycling, but if they have to take it away, and it’s garbage, then we don’t get credit back for that. That’s how it’s costing Student Senate money versus actually improving it. So we’re basically being another trash service instead of actually fulfilling what our objective was.”

The issue became urgent enough that it eventually caught the eye of the WSC Student Senate. However, Kody Wageman, president of the Student Senate, believed the problem wasn’t restricted to campus grounds.

“We do have the Community Accessible Recycling Bin, and that has trash in it, but that’s most likely from the community,” Wageman said.

The members of the Green Team, a WSC-based recycling promotion team, also studied the problem. Laura Dendinger, an advisor for the Green Team, believed increasing awareness is the first step.

“Maybe [the students] didn’t have a recycling community,” Dendinger said. “Maybe their parents didn’t have time to participate. But if we got people more aware of the benefits of recycling, it might encourage them to participate in the future.”

Meanwhile, students and Resident Assistants such as Sarah Kudrna have also come up with their own ideas for a solution.

“I would make certain days to recycle, and make events out of it,” Kudrna said. “Say, bring in like five pop cans or bottles and you could get a candy bar or something like that.”

“What Student Senate kind of talked about was possibly making the lids so that they have just the circles, so that you’d have to put containers directly through them instead of a lid, because that encourages people to put actual garbage in them,” Boneschans said.