Time to recycle

“I guess we have to put on a better dog and pony show.”

That was said to me by one of the geology professors on Saturday. We were two of only four non-Student Association people who showed up to lend a hand at the NIU Recycling Center over the weekend. Those of you who have been to the recycling center know that there is an enormous pile of newspapers, cans and bottles that have piled up over the summer.

“A better dog and pony show.” I guess that statement rubbed me the wrong way as we were hauling newspapers to the truck. You see, we spoke to a couple of classes and asked students to lend a hand for an hour or so at the center. We didn’t ask them to travel great distances (the recycling center is right behind the dorms), or to commit to long periods of time, just a few hours on the weekend. Now, I know all the arguments—it was a long weekend, it was a Saturday morning, it was the first week of school…there are many reasons to not have gone. And, I know most of us don’t relish the thought of spending our Saturday mornings sorting through newspapers and tin, and identifying the various colors of glass to be broken, but DeKalb County is running out of landfill space and the recycling center can take many of these items currently going into the landfill. It should be noted that it takes two to five months for a newspaper to decompose in a landfill, and almost 100 years for aluminum to breakdown. A few hours on a Saturday is not really a long time in relation to this.

And you know, there was something in helping at the center for me. After working just a few hours, I feel I have made a small difference. Maybe we do need a better dog and pony show, or maybe not enough people were aware of this opportunity to help. And maybe, this weekend will be different.

Elaine Schwartz

Graduate student