News: How Do We Encourage College Students to Recycle?

        According to Dump and Run Inc., the average college student will produce 640 pounds of solid waste this year. This number includes over 500 disposable cups AND 320 lbs of paper! With numbers these high, its a wonder more isn't done to encourage college students to recycle. For many student, recycling can be confusing and a lot or work. Finding a drop off site, knowing what exactly is recyclable and what is not, and finding time to find these answers can all deter a college student to start recycling. The question is, how can we change these obstacles and encourage more recycling?

        One of the changes we can make, is increasing the amount of recycling drop off points around campus. Places such as dorms, cafeterias, libraries, and areas with high foot traffic should all be targets for these new drop off sites. At these drop off sites, signs should be posted with common student used items (such as coffee cups, disposable cups, aluminum cans, etc.) and what bin they should go in. While some of these items may seem obvious, to a new recycler, the whole thing can leave them with uncertainty. By making it clear what goes wear, and increasing the locations for drop offs, students wouldn't feel as if they had to out of their way to recycle.

        Another change that could be made is an incentive program. Students love free things, and college campus’ hold events on an almost day-to-day basis. By using a reward system, college can encourage students to be more likely to recycle. An example of this is football season. As far as my campus goes, football days are the busiest days of the year. An incentive for days such as these could be ‘for every X amount of recyclables you bring to the stadium, a student can receive Y amount off of their or a guest ticket’. By providing incentives for their students, college can start a trend that encourages recycling in later years, rather than something that requires more work that it seems to be worth. 

        While these are only a few ideas, there is so much we can do to encores college students to recycle on a more frequent basis. By developing these habits early, we can help continue them well into their future; improving our future, one student at a time.