By Rich Doxey, Assistant to the Student Body President
Mother Teresa said, “I only feel angry when I see waste. When I see people throwing away things we could use.” The Utah Valley Student Association certainly agrees. Waste management is an issue facing our campus.
As an institution, UVU is rapidly expanding with nearly 30,000 students enrolled. This growth is fantastic for the future of the University and many trends predict that UVU will become the largest university in the state. But this growth brings with it the issue of managing waste. The time has come for UVU to really go green.
Information provided by UVU’s Sustainability Committee shows that the state of Utah struggles with recycling. For example, this is how our waste is broken down – 90 percent is dumped into landfills, five percent is burned, and only the remaining five percent is recycled. The forward-looking state of Maine recycles 49 percent of its waste. Also, Utah ranks 42nd in the nation in pounds of waste recycled per person. Utah recycles .28 pounds per person each day. California is ranked first with 3.41 pounds per day. There is room for improvement in Utah.
When UVU’s recycling efforts are compared to other state universities, our efforts haven’t been the greenest. For example, Weber State recycles 30 percent of all their paper on campus, with some schools reaching 80 percent. We are Utah’s up-and-coming university, not only in size, but in all facets of university life. Therefore, this year’s elected student leaders have made recycling a major focus for their administration.
A major obstacle facing our recycling effort is the awareness of students and faculty. In a recent poll, only 35 percent of students know where recycling bins are located. This needs to change. To offset low awareness, UVU purchased 230 new recycling bins to add to our already 200 large bins and nearly 1,000 small bins. These new large bins are decorated with a fresh UVUSA recycling logo and placed throughout the campus. Also, a baler was purchased and placed at the Advancement Building. UVU is now able to collect recyclable goods, bale them, and sell them to recycling companies for a potential profit.
The following are reasons to recycle: making recycled paper uses 30 to 55 percent less energy than making paper out of new trees, one recycled aluminum can saves enough electricity to run a computer for three hours, every Sunday 500,000 trees could be saved if everyone recycled their newspapers.
UVUSA is passionate about improving the quality and prestige of the University. The first steps have been made for a greener campus. We now need each of you to do your part – recycle your paper and aluminum waste. Let all of us work for a better UVU. Gandhi counseled to “be the change you want to see in the world.” UVUSA challenges each student to be the change they want to see on campus. For questions or suggestion regarding UVU recycling please e-mail [email protected]