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Recycling “white paper:” Our wishlist

Marion Feistadt

By: Marion Freistadt

 

It’s hard to believe it has been three years years since we got recycling re-started at Delgado. However, it’s clear that this is really a very small start: just a drop in the bucket.

 

Members of the Recycling Committee feel very strongly that the College needs to improve its green profile significantly. In this column, I will list some of our goals. Please note that this is a list of our physical needs. Separately, we are working on how to sustain human involvement. Also, please note that our needs are not limited to what is here.

 

Immediate goals

Conventional recycling: A recycling bin near every trash can.

For recycling to be successful, it must be convenient. Ultimately, we would like to have a recycling bin immediately adjacent to every single garbage or trash receptacle on all campuses. We are presently very far from this goal. We initially purchased 11 bins (from a foundation grant), which were distributed to several campuses. Then we had about 50 large plastic bins donated by Coca-Cola. Volunteers (students, faculty and staff) got together to clean and label the bins. They were distributed around the City Park campus. Housekeeping recently put out some cardboard recycling containers. None of this is enough. We need to make recycling SUPER EASY, so that inconvenience can never be an excuse for not recycling.

 

Education

It seems that many members of the Delgado community are either unaware that recycling exists here, or uninformed about how to do it. We need a massive green education campaign. (And by green, I do not mean wasteful fliers.) We need a stronger web presence as well as educational videos playing in the Student Life Center. We need teachers to include information about campus recycling at the beginning of each semester. We need a Delgado green radio station. We need articles in local newspapers and a brief presentation at every convocation. We need to

connect with other green campuses. It would be good to have student learning projects, through service learning and regular classes that emphasize conservation. We need to have events, such as Earth Day, regular presentations, etc. An anti-littering culture would be beneficial as well. The recycling committee should be made a standing committee, pertinent to promotion.

 

Medium range goals

Reduce use of disposables on campus.

Styrofoam is completely non-recyclable. We’d like to see all styrofoam banned from campus vendors. We’d like to see refunds/discounts for customers who use non-disposable cups, plates and silverware. We need repairs of water fountains, so that less machine vending is required.

 

Improved efficiency of climate control–some areas are over-air conditioned–and sealing of leaks in existing buildings is needed. Surplus equipment should be reused and recycled in a responsible manner. Encourage the use of double-sided copying. Encourage computerized rather than paper assignments. Have “re-use” paper collection at every copy machine AND have that paper collected and re-used.

 

Long range goals

Ultimately, recycling, providing a more ecologically-conscious culture across campus and complying with state conservation requirements should be an official function, not carried out by volunteers. This could initially be done by teaching release (when teachers are paid to do a job that is the approximate equivalent of teaching a single class), perhaps developing into an office with a small staff.

 

Note that the state has requirements for recycling by state agencies (LA HB1322 Summary Requires state agencies to implement a solid waste reduction and recycling program), and this may develop to apply to community colleges. All new construction should be LEED-certified. Community college campuses should be included in the state requirements for recycling. We’d like to see reduced dependence on motorized vehicles; for example, reduction of driving with college vehicles, improved teleconferencing for remote courses, or intercampus courses. Encouragement of alternative commuting: for example, improved bicycle parking and security. Bus passes for Delgado students. Lobbying

for better bus service, including from Baton Rouge. A “green education” degree or certificate might be a revenue producer for the college.

 

What Next?

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