Sunday, February 13, 2011
Hiding What No One Wants To See
I was considering sorting through the garbage and recycling from my floor to see what was being improperly placed when I noticed something we had talked about in class: how we show off our recycling and hide our garbage. The garbage bins on my floor are located in a miscellaneous closet next to the elevator. Three garbage bins sit inside shrouded in darkness until you grope around the wall and turn the light on, however most people just toss the bags into the dark room regardless of where they land, so usually there's trash scattered about the floor. The recycling bin, however, is right at the top of the stairwell for all to see (this goes for each floor). No doubt when parents are brought around this building for tours, they see the big blue bins and smile at the "environmentally aware" liberal arts college nestled in a county full of landfills. I can understand wanting to hide garbage because of its smell, however I believe that we also hide it because we don't want to see what we should feel guilty for. Much like a slaughterhouse or a landfill, various tedious measures are taken to hide the dark side of consumerism from the public. One last point I'd like to make which has always bothered me is the ratio of garbage bins to recycling bins. There are three garbage bins and one recycling bin per floor for people to dispose of their waste, and the recycling bin is always overflowing, consequentially diverting students to just tossing out their recycling because they don't want to pile it up around the bin. As a campus trying to encourage "green" action, we should provide more recycling bins, even if they are all at the top of the stairwell.