Chardonee Wright, Staff Writer-
Remembering the environment and earth for future generations is what Southern’s recycling coordinator, Heather Stearns, said is the biggest reason why recycling is important.
“We may not see it in our lifetime, but certainly our children and grandchildren will see the impact if we don’t start taking care of our environment,” said Stearns.
Stearns said she is always looking for ways to recycle on campus.
“When I saw RecycleMania, I said this is fun for students to get involved in,” said Stearns.
RecycleMania is a competition that attracts hundreds of colleges and universities nationwide to see which school can recycle the most materials.
According to RecyleMania’s website, RecycleMania reports trash and recycling data to the Colleges and University Recycling Council.
There are specific items which are counted as recyclable items.
“The materials that are included in that are paper, cardboard, bottles, cans and plastics,” said Stearns.
The data and schools are ranked according to the largest amounts of total recyclables, the largest amount of recyclables per capita, and the highest recycling rate or the least amount of trash per capita.
The competition runs from Jan. 23 until April 2.
According to RecycleMania’s website, there is a need for the contest in order to promote waste reduction and recycling in a fun and friendly way.
The website also adds that 80 percent of the participating schools have had an increase in the collection of recyclable items during the competition.
Alongside the nationwide competition, the nine residence halls on Southern’s campus have a competition amongst each other to determine which dormitory can recycle the most items.
At the end of the 10-week period, the dormitory that recycles the most will win a prize.
Robert DeMezzo, associate director of Residence Life, said the students have a high awareness of recycling in the dorms.
“We have recycling centers on every floor; every one of the utility rooms has a place where you can recycle your bottles and cans or papers. In the upper-class communities such as North Campus, Schwartz, Brownell, and some of the West Campus rooms, we put recycling bins in every room,” said DeMezzo.
Alongside recycling bins, DeMezzo said there are other ways that the dormitories have been “going green.”
“Turning off lights. Any batteries that we have, we recycle. Another thing we are doing in the residence halls, the ones who have community showers, we’ve installed shower heads that save water. You still get the pressure, but just use less water,” said DeMezzo.
According to the National Recycling Coalition, every ton of paper that is recycled saves 17 trees. Also, the energy saved when one glass bottle is recycled is enough to light a light bulb for four hours.
According to Stearns, the most recycled commodity on Southern’s campus is cardboard and paper.
“Cardboard and paper are up around 100 tons a year”, said Stearns. “That’s what we are doing now.”
Stearns said the number of items recycled on campus are not as high as they should be.
“I think we can do better. I think we can produce a lot more recycling paper and those numbers can go higher,” said Stearns.
Tiana Venable, a junior elementary education major, said some students take heed to recycle, while others don’t.
“I’ve seen a lot of people throw recyclables in the trash or out on the street, so they don’t take it as serious as they should be,” said Venable.