NIU needs to provide recycling options for students in the dorms


By Jack Baker

Currently, there is no way for students on their floors to recycle. This is pretty sad.

NIU needs to implement a structured recycling program in its residence halls.

I don’t even want to think about the amount of recyclable materials that are thrown away each year when they could have easily been recycled.

There’s probably at least a dumpster full of empty beer cans thrown away every weekend, and that’s not even considering the amount of paper and plastic that could also be reused.

While it is true that some recycling exists in the buildings (there are small recycling bins in the lobbies), this is simply not enough to limit the excessive amount of waste coming from the halls.

According to Mike Stang, executive director of Housing and Dining, there are a few reasons why the halls do not currently have a system of recycling on the floors.

“We don’t at this point have a structured program where we’re collecting recyclables on the floors,” Stang said. “Partly because we don’t have elevator equipment from the floors down to the lobby areas.”

This is true. Some of the residence halls don’t have elevators. But every day, the garbage being collected by building services workers and carried downstairs contains the materials that could have been recycled.

Implementing a recycling program would not increase the amount they have to carry; it would just add a step of putting it into different bags.

The far more serious problem brought up by Stang, however, is student interest.

“Student interest in recycling varies,” Stang said. “Some years it seems like it’s important and some years it doesn’t.”

If students simply didn’t care about recycling, this would be a big problem, but I don’t think that’s the case. The actual problem is that while students want to recycle, they don’t want to start a program and take on the responsibility of running it on their own.

Student interest in recycling may appear low, but they’ve also never been really given the chance to recycle.

Stang said that in order for a recycling program to work, it would need to become a part of the community. He said students would need to start their own program and work with it so that it could grow and become like a tradition for a particular floor or a residential learning community.

If this really is the case and Housing and Dining is going to wait for students to become actively environmentally conscious, then that’s what needs happen.

Make it known how much you want to recycle and force Housing and Dining to make it part of the NIU community.