How to Be a[n Eco-Savvy] Person: Recycling Etiquette


You don’t have to believe the hippies and tree-huggers about global warming (what a joke, right?), but recycling just makes sense. Why make something from scratch if you can reuse what you’ve already made? But even on a campus where most of us are at least occasionally guilty about our carbon footprint, we miss all kinds of easy opportunities to help keep this place green. 

A few impressively sculptural trash cans during orientation may just be a laugh to us now and a pain to maintenance later, but things add up. If you’ve never worried about waste before, I envy your blood pressure but urge you to read about the horror that is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. On the other hand, don’t panic: more people than ever are doing their bit for the environment today, and every bit helps. Here’s how you can do yours with truly minimal effort.

  • Don’t crumple up and throw out your bad drafts. Almost any kind of paper can be recycled today, including magazines and paper with staples. Add it to the pile.
  • Consider finding a cardboard box to keep in your room as a recycling bin, so you don’t have to walk down the hall every time you finish the New York Times.
  • Everyone has had the conversation about Peirce cups. You already know.
  • The entire South quad lawn isn’t actually a recycling bin, as some of us seem to think when disposing of beer cans. Just carry your empty beverage the whole extra couple of minutes it will take you to find a place to recycle it.
  • If your bottle isn’t empty, rinse it out and remove its cap before recycling it. Glass and plastic with too much food residue can’t be recycled and throw a wrench in the recycling process. Take ten seconds to rinse your easy-mac containers out.
  • Gambier’s local recycling accepts a fairly wide range of plastics, but check the plastic’s resin number if you’re unsure.
  • Don’t get a new Kenyon College Bookstore bag every time you go and buy one tiny pad of sticky notes.
  • Don’t get stressed out during move-out when you realize the crushing weight of your material possessions and throw every other thing in the dumpster. Donate it to the rummage sale, and if you find yourself missing it, you can buy it right back at the beginning of the next year for cheaper than storage would’ve been anyway.

It’s easy to forget about any kind of impending environmental catastrophes on our beautiful hill, but we have a responsibility to keep it that way. Let us know if you have further suggestions.

2 responses

  1. Pingback: Summertime Gladness: A Collection of Stories | The Thrill

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