The Student News Site of Northern Michigan University

The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

Meet the Staff
Matthew Sarna
Business Manager

The North Wind Editorial Sessions
About us

The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Recycling methods need to be revisited

Although my source of childhood income was collecting pop cans and bottles and returning them for a small profit, recycling items other than drink containers has been a hard habit to get the hang of. In the office, I still find myself venturing back to wastebaskets to retrieve paper I have errantly thrown away when there is always a bin for recycling parked nearby.
Stepping outside of the office and glancing into the circular files interspersed throughout campus reveals that many members of the campus community must have the same problems remembering to recycle. These receptacles are filled knee-high with discarded paper and plastic bottles.
Although beverage cans and bottles are among the easiest products to recycle, a 2004 USA Today article found that recycling rates for these items are the lowest they’ve been since the mid-1990s. Compounding this is the fact that there’s no incentive to recycle non-refundable drink containers.
If NMU is serious about going green and reducing the amount of waste that the campus community produces, the administration needs to create a mindset where recycling is made easy.
Like those parents who clean up after their children, the maintenance staff of several of NMU’s buildings often assume the responsibilities of sifting through the contents of the trash cans, separating what can be recycled and what can’t.
“I think NMU’s recycling program is a good program. Everybody could do more though. I frequently find paper in the garbage when the recycle bin is within sight,” said building and grounds attendant Jim Dunneback of the University Center.
As is the case with those busybody parents who tidy up after their kids, eventually students need to grow up and clean up after themselves. Choosing not to recycle in this day and age is virtually inexcusable.
If students need a shove in the right direction, NMU could start by placing recycling bins directly in the classrooms; this would be more forward-thinking than having the colored plastic bins tucked away in obscure corners. When students in classrooms finish beverages during class, they are not likely to hold onto the empty bottle all the way to a recycling bin outside of the classroom. They are more likely to just discard it into the nearest trash can on their way out and move on with the rest of their day. The same rule applies to paper in those classes where professors bombard their students with an endless stream of handouts, which could easily have been put onto WebCT.
If NMU doesn’t want to put two different receptacles in classrooms, perhaps it can recruit the companies responsible for cutting down trees who want to undo some of the damage they have done to sponsor this change, said building and grounds attendant John Laufer.
Issues of The North Wind, which can easily be recycled as well, are found discarded throughout the campus. The newspapers are often left right where people finished reading them, with the various inserts left to spill out all over the ground.
The problem of recycling will come to the forefront if the proposed campus readership program goes through. This program would bring a large amount of newspapers to campus. If recycling isn’t pursued more aggressively, these papers will only add to the clutter of NMU’s campus.
If recyclables do make it back to the dorms, there are programs in place which seem to work well for this environment and should be adapted to suit others.
In the residence halls, there are centrally-located areas designated for recycling which are generally full, proving that when the option to recycle is made ridiculously easy for students, they feel more compelled to make use of the program.
In this point-and-click era of getting things accomplished, people expect things to be easy. Truly important areas, such as insurance and banking have been getting easier all the time, making recycling easier would show where our priorities truly lie.

Story continues below advertisement
More to Discover