Students apathetic towards new composting bins

Aubrey Zych, Staff Writer

 

In February, two new waste management bins were placed in the cafeteria in an effort to create a more environmentally-responsible campus. These bins are designated for food and paper products only, while plastic, styrofoam and metal are placed in the trash.

Many students have noticed the new bins and the school’s initiative for a greener campus, but have not responded to its call.

“Students don’t take the bins seriously,” said freshman Liv Seeley. “You can’t even tell which is the composting bin because all of the bins are full of garbage.”

As Seeley noted, many students just throw all of their trash in the nearest bin without a second look.

However, students who do not take the time to sort out the trash are also throwing out the school’s initiative for a greener campus. Even just one piece of plastic, styrofoam, or metal in the composting bin would result in the entire bin being thrown out.

Sophomore Greg Richards said that for many students, sorting the trash is a time inconvenience.

“I have personally been running late for a class and just dumped everything in the trash,” he stated. “We are all guilty of it.”

All the same, Richards said that when he has the time, it is worth taking a few extra seconds to help make a difference in the environment.

“I am personally not a very big environmentalist, but I do think it is selfish act not to use the composting bins when given the opportunity,” he stated. “There truly is no extra effort needed. If we as students can’t take the time to use the bins, I have doubts that our effect on the environment will ever improve.”

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, or the EPA,  the environment takes a major hit whenever food is thrown away in the trash and sent to a landfill. Composted food is recycled and used for enriching soil and cleaning up contaminated soil. Composting also saves money, because it reduces the need for water, fertilizers and pesticides.

Andrew “Chef Drew” D’Angelo,  executive chef and a member of Le Moyne’s Environmental Committee, stated that these new bins are not here to save the school money, but rather to encourage a more environmentally-friendly campus and to set an example for other colleges.

“Le Moyne is sort of a testing site for Waste Management to see how college students react to the bins,” he stated.

According to D’Angelo, Le Moyne, Syracuse University and Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) are Waste Management’s three testing sites.

“We’re hoping to come out with some good results so we can start pushing other colleges to do the same,” D’Angelo added. “The main goal here isn’t to save money; it’s to preserve clean water. Between going trayless and the composting bins, Le Moyne could make a big difference.”

Junior Emma Plucinik explained that she never knew the effects composting had on the environment.

“It would help students if someone explained how composting works and what differences it made,” she stated.

Richards also suggested including more visuals to help the students understand the importance of separating their trash.

“Many college students, including myself, are more apt to use the bins if there is a way to advertise them more and make them stick out,” he stated. “Putting a giant sign near them might catch our attention.”

As Seeley noted, better labeling on the bins may even help students organize their leftover food and garbage.

However, not all students believe this will make a difference.

Sophomore Taylor Wells argued that signs or no signs, some students are just not interested.

“I honestly, really don’t think many students care,” she stated. “It’s kind of sad that even with more knowledge on the matter, some students still won’t care.”

Meanwhile, Richards stated that the college should expand the composting bins to other locations on campus, such as the Den and the Plaza. He believes that more composting bins would make sorting out trash more of a habit for students.

“Not only would this have a greater effect, but it would provide more visual awareness for students,” he stated.

For more information about how composting works, what can be composted and how to make a difference in the environment can visit the EPA’s website at www.epa.gov.