Miami University certainly isn’t lacking in beautiful scenery, but according to Green Oxford, a student-run organization, it is lacking recycling bins throughout the outdoor portions of campus.
Senior Stefan Linder, president of Green Oxford, said the group is currently attempting to inform students about the need for outdoor recycling. The organization conducted a trash sorting event in front of the Shriver Center April 20 designed to help demonstrate this need.
“The purpose of the event was to show the amount of recyclable waste that is simply thrown away on campus,” Linder said. “One of the points of that was to show that if recycle bins were placed outside, then a lot of plastic and bottles and more could be easily recycled.”
Sophomore Ian Winner, a member of Green Oxford’s board of executives, helped coordinate the demonstration outside Shriver and actively participated in the tasks necessary to make the event possible.
“We dressed up in jumpsuits and dumpster dove and collected 374 pounds of trash,” Winner said. “We sorted through it in front of Shriver and at the end of the day 26 percent of that trash was actually recyclable.”
This statistic may not seem like much, but Winner said it can add up.
“Miami sends 7,456,000 pounds of trash to a landfill each year,” Winner said. “If you extrapolate that 26 percent (of recyclables) we found and apply it to the total waste Miami has each year, 1,933,775 pounds of recyclable items are going into a landfill instead of being reused.”
Currently, Green Oxford is conducting a petition that they hope will show that students desire the implementation of outdoor recycling bins. They intend to take the petition to Gregory Vaughn, director of building and special services, when they reach 500 signatures.
Vaughn said it is not about the number of students who want bins, but rather the practicality of implementing the bins.
“Even having 500 people who want to have those (bins), the university still needs to fund that,” Vaughn said. “Of course, in the current economic times, coming up with funding for projects is difficult.”
Vaughn has a different approach for being environmentally conscious on campus.
“Overall, recycling requires a change in attitude to truly embrace sustainability and go from what’s easy to what’s best for the university and community we live in,” Vaughn said. “If we can get people to embrace the idea of being conscious enough to carry recyclables to the nearest (indoor) recycling container, we don’t have the carbon footprint of creating additional containers, the cost of implementing new containers that would last in Ohio weather and the cost of maintaining these containers.”
Senior Jeff Finley isn’t convinced that Vaughn’s plan is entirely reasonable and has noticed the lack of recycling options on campus.
“It wouldn’t be that much harder for me to stick an empty bottle in a pocket in my backpack and bring it to where I had a recycle bin in my dorm or even in the dining halls, but it would be much more convenient if they had recycling bins outside,” Finley said. “It’s kind of strange that they have trash cans on nearly every street corner, but little to no recycling bins outside.”