Above, one of three mounds at the Seneca Meadows Landfill in Waterloo, NY, as seen from the west side of Seneca Lake approximately eight miles away (through a telephoto lens). Credit: Kevin Colton, HWS.

EPA Region Map

EPA Region Map
EPA Region Map

Saturday, March 19, 2011

New admissions requirement: identify what is and is not recyclable

As I was doing some spring cleaning before spring break, I noticed that my residents had done the same thing before they left for the week. I was happy to see that the recycling bin was full, but upon closer examination I realized that the wrong things were getting recycled. As you can see from the picture, I pulled out wool socks, a plant (that was still alive with soil and root system intact) with a plastic heart from Valentine’s day, a Gatorade bottle full of something that wasn’t Gatorade, an entire package of cheese food (the kind of cheese that comes individually wrapped) and a whole bunch of other junk that didn’t belong there.

I don’t think it takes an environmental studies major to determine that most of that stuff shouldn’t have been in the recycling bin. Maybe it is time for some new admissions requirements or a 9th goal. Because environmental studies has so many cross listed classes and is so interdisciplinary it seems as though it would be impossible to spend four years here and never encounter a discussion about sustainability. But maybe that is not enough. A few years ago there was a group of SIE students who were trying to raise student support for a 9th goal regarding sustainability. I am not sure what happened to that proposal or what obstacle it got hung up on, but it seems like a good goal to add and an easy one to accomplish.

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