Northwest is known for being green in more than one way, clearly dedicating itself to sustainability and going green environmentally.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for living off campus.
A second place finish in Recyclemania, a recycling competition between 600 universities, multi-time Missouri Recycling Award and a 2017 American Association of State Colleges and Universities Sustainability and Sustainable Development Award are just a few of the green badges of honor Northwest holds, according to the Northwest Website and Sustainability Manual.
Students are almost never more than a stone’s throw away than those handy dandy color-coordinated recycling bins. With those bins seeming more convenient than trash cans most of the time, it’s almost harder not to recycle than it is to recycle while living on campus.
When students move off campus, it becomes far more difficult to recycle. In turn, it is no longer a priority for most students.
The hassle of separating their trash and delivering it to the recycling center or towing it to campus is often enough to dissuade students from even trying.
Honestly, I can’t blame them. Everyone knows the weight of college student’s laziness far exceeds that of any polar bear that may die in the process.
Not-so-surprisingly, the easier a community makes it to recycle, the more likely people are to do it, according to HowStuffWorks.
Campus gives students recycling training wheels, which students grow dependent on and likely recycle simply out of convenience. When in the community, the same measures aren’t taken to encourage students to recycle.
But with a few simple steps, the city of Maryville can ease the difficulty of recycling, and as a result, ease our concerns about the future of our planet. And our planet is worth that additional effort.
The most needed improvements are access to curbside recycling pickup and increased numbers of recycling receptacles.
Recycling can’t get much more convenient than putting the recycling outside and then having it whisked away. If recycling services were as easy to sign-up for as garbage services, far more would be interested. Give the people pick up, and the recycling will come — or go, in this instance.
For about every dumpster on campus, there is a recycling receptacle as well. If the same were true throughout the community, the city’s would see similar results and people would have more opportunities to recycle.
If more of the places students disposed of their trash while in apartments had both recycling and trash bins on site, students would literally be face to face with the decision to recycle every time they took out their trash.
Northwest takes pride in its recycling efforts, taking every opportunity to boast about it, sharing an open sustainability plan and having clear markers of our recycling efforts in every main building, namely those vibrant trash sorting stations.
Students should take pride in Northwest’s efforts and put in effort worthy of pride themselves, but that doesn’t mean doing this good deed should be so strenuous.
Maryville should take pride in recycling as well.
While Northwest “green” is constantly staring students in the face on campus, off campus, it is out of sight, out of mind.
Admittedly, additional recycling services can be costly, but awareness, generally, is not.
Additional recycling promotion and education throughout town could do wonders to plant the seed of recycling in minds of students no longer as immersed in Northwest’s on-campus green culture.