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Recycling possibilities abound

By Sean Sleight
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
September 20, 1999

To the editor,

After reading Kelly LeFevre's wonderful and informative letter entitled, "Recycling is a priority," I wanted to respond by adding a few minor details to the recycling story. There have often been times when I have bought a glass bottle of Ocean Spray juice from a hot dog stand and walked around with it all day on campus because a) I could not find a glass recycling container, or b) I was not walking in the vicinity of the Student Union (where I know there are plenty of places to recycle different materials). I ended up carrying this container all the way home with me so that I could recycle it in my handy dandy green recycling bin there. This was not a big deal, but it seems that if there were more recycling bins of different kinds (glass, plastic, polystyrene, etc.) around campus, more people would not just throw their "garbage" in garbage cans because they don't know where else to put it. Instead, they would sense the urgency of how important recycling really is, and perhaps throw their "empty container that can be used again" in the appropriate recycling container. There seems to be an abundance of aluminum recycling containers around campus, and this is great, because aluminum is probably the most widely used material that can be recycled! Instead of having however, many containers are needed to recycle all of the recyclable, there could be just one large container where everything could be placed, and the materials would get sorted later. Or maybe I am totally ignorant of these kind of containers.

I am very grateful to those of you who do go through the effort to recycle, and I'm hoping it won't come down to this, but perhaps a reward system for recycling would work better. It is sad that most reward systems need to be based on money and not the satisfaction of contributing to the greater whole world outside yourself. Unfortunately, there isn't a built-in robot voice inside, say, the paper recycling container that says, "thank you for recycling that stack of paper, you just saved 1.6 trees." Well, that type of reward system probably won't happen any time soon, but if people were given a money reward instead, it just might. It would be cool if recycling vending machines were introduced on campus. That way, people could just stick their can, glass, or whatever in an opening, and a reward would fall out. This would give us an incentive to recycle and remind us that we save money for recycling that gets passed back to the very person who goes through the effort to do it. Recycling can be thought of as a business, but it is a productive business if we use the money for something worthwhile. It would be useful information to find out how much energy and money gets saved for recycling a given amount of some recyclable material and where the money we earn from recycling on this campus goes to. Maybe if it went toward giving out free drinks on campus, people would actually do it. If trash were worth money, can you imagine how clean the streets would be? It's a good thing that "bums" take advantage of collecting recyclable materials for profits because it seems most of us are so well off financially that we don't really care what happens environmentally on a large scale. Think about it.

Sean Sleight

Molecular and cellular biology senior

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