Students who live in the University’s Lawyers Club experience elegant architecture, pristine surroundings and, apparently, a surprising vacuum of recycle bins. Residents of the Lawyers Club, a residence hall located in the Law Quad, are expressing frustration over a lack of recycling options in their residence hall. In attempts to explain the absence, administrators have offered excuses that simply don’t fly. Recycling serves an important environmental purpose, and the University needs to ensure that recycling receptacles for paper are readily available in the halls and rooms in residence halls, including in the Lawyers Club.
As reported in the Daily on Monday, there are no recycling bins available within the halls or rooms of the Lawyers Club. Residents who wish to recycle must walk their recyclable materials to a separate location because there are no receptacles in the actual living area. Students say they are being discouraged from recycling because it’s simply much more convenient to throw away recyclable materials like plastic and paper in much closer trashcans.
In the past, the University hasn’t been blind to the value of recycling. The Ross School of Business, for example, recently introduced composting and recycling programs to reduce its waste. And in the 2010 College Sustainability Report Card by the Sustainable Endowments Institute, the University received an ‘A’ for its efforts.
Recycling at the University is an effective way to reduce waste and help the environment. With landfills overflowing and the U.S. annually producing 251 million tons of garbage, according to a 2006 report from the Environmental Protection Agency, trash is a serious problem. Recycling also supports the environment by reusing materials that take energy, natural resources and pollution to make. The simple act is clean and efficient, and there’s no reason that it shouldn’t be available to students.
But the recycling problems at the Lawyers Club are a black mark on the University’s record. It’s both surprising and inexcusable that students living in the Lawyers Club don’t have easy access to recycling options within their residence hall. Students shouldn’t need to search or trek through snow to find a place to recycle their trash. Recycling bins need to be available in prime locations, including students’ rooms or surrounding hallways.
Perhaps as pitiful as the absence of recycling options at the Lawyers Club are the excuses being offered by administrators, who cite a lack of space and fire safety concerns as the reasons recycling has been neglected. But if trashcans can be provided within the hall, as they have been, it’s absurd to suggest that a recycling program can’t be implemented. To make matters worse, the Law School has also neglected to recycle the paper waste produced in an office space it rents within the Lawyers Club. Administrators at the Law School and the Lawyers Club can’t agree who is responsible for overseeing recycling in the office — so recycling has simply been neglected. But these excuses are laughable and could be easily overcome.
The truth of the matter is that putting out recycle bins in the Lawyers Club shouldn’t be a difficult process. The University needs to stop its bureaucratic excuses and get recycling into the Lawyers Club.