New recycling plan to come across campus

by Sarah KellerStaff Writer

There will soon be a new recycling plan implemented across campus. The new program, which will be in effect starting Feb. 1., is intended to give students a way to help the environment in more extensive ways than what are offered on campus as of now.

The problem with the current recycling plan, according to senior Nick Blay, president of the Environmental Awareness Club, is that it is inconvenient and confusing.

“There isn’t much of a recycling program in place,” Blay said. “There are very few bins here and there and they’re generally in pretty inconvenient places.”

With the new system, there will be bins in each room so students can pitch their garbage in their rooms rather than having to walk down the hall and try to figure out which piece of recycling goes in which bin.

“We’re trying to bring a greater ease to the program,” Ryan Rehmeier, PhD and assistant professor of biology and environmental science, said. “Anyone can throw things into a bucket and it’s going to be where you have your trash can. The idea of this is to have material to put in a bin right in front of you.”

The only job each resident in a room will have is to take their recycled goods to a station that will be located on each floor in the residence halls.

“Volunteers will go to those central locations, empty the bins, and take the material to a central location on campus so those materials can be hauled away,” Blay said.

The EAC and other volunteers plan to meet once a week on “Green Monday” to pick up the recycled goods.

The idea of the new plan came about when Rehmeier, Steve Griffith, vice president and dean for academic affairs, and the Environmental Awareness Club showed interest in a new recycling plan. They decided something needed to be done to help Simpson’s campus since there was very little opportunity to recycle.

Last fall, Griffith chaired a meeting be held with a sustainability committee, with representatives from facilities, student services and others around campus. Mandy Fox, director of residence life, was in attendance at the meeting and said students need to place a higher importance on recycling.

“We have a recycling structure in play right now,” but recycling has not been as high of a priority for students of the college as I think it could have been until very recently,” Fox said.

Last fall, Rehmeier put together a proposal with the help of the EAC. The board of trustees and the president decided to fund the proposal around Christmas time.

“Their acceptance showed they were willing to support these efforts to make a more sustainable campus, which I don’t think should be overlooked,” Rehmeier said.

The new program will first be tested in a couple of the residence halls, admissions building offices, and Cowles center.

“The new program is going to be a trial program to be sure things will run smoothly,” Blay said.

The students that will be affected for this new plan will be made aware of the changes that are to happen to their rooms and resident halls. The current recycling situation lags behind because no one was in charge of the recycling process, and no one knew where anything went.

“The custodial services are doing the paper recycling but there’s really no idea where everything else is going and it’s not their job to know,” Rehmeier said. “No one signed them up to do this.”

Rehmeier said a general understanding of the program can increase the chances that it will be successful.

“Currently, Simpson does not have the physical support to do it unless it comes from the students,” Rehmeier said. “I think that’s a big part of it, is that we have all the students on the same page.”

Many students are taking awareness and coming together to help for this greater cause, and any student can help in this process.

“I hope it takes off,” Fox said, “I think the time is ripe for the green issues and sustainability issues are sweeping the nation–so to speak–especially in higher education,” Fox said.