North Park Recycling Falls Upon Individuals
Recycling, especially at North Park, has become a hot topic among students and staff. A common rumor especially among students is that everything goes from one giant can to the landfill. Director of the Physical Plant, Carl Wistrom, counteracted those rumors, saying “we do recycle and it’s up to individuals to use the container. We provide them, but it’s up to them to do it.”
According to Wistrom, every office space has a blue container for paper and another for commingled, which is for everything else. “In our office buildings we get a lot of paper. There is some recycling with the apartments,” said Wistrom. “As far as I know, we don’t have any recycling bins in Anderson. We just have trash chutes on our floors, so I’m led to believe they all go into the same trashcan,” said North Park Lucy Lundergan.
“The custodians are there to clean and recycle. If they see something, in the recycling can, like a pop can or something, that contaminates the whole container. So then it goes in the garbage. Then you’re wasting a whole thing of paper that could’ve been recycled because we don’t have time to pick everything out,” said Wistrom. Wistrom also said that “If people are really going to recycle, they have to be conscious to put it in the right container.”
Similarly, president and founder of the Green Team, a C.L.A.S.S. recognized club, Hedda Morken, said that “It’s frustrating because we try to figure out why they can’t recycle and it’s because students don’t follow the right instructions.”
The Green Team started last spring with the intention of reducing North Park’s carbon footprint. According to Morken, the Green Team would like to inform the students to take initiative in the environment and recycling at school by providing information on how to easily recycle in daily life situations. They would also like to work with the school to improve the recycling labels and directions around campus, or put up signs to recycle. The club has started helping out on their own by spending time cleaning up garbage on the riverbanks.
“The school is responsible, being such a big institution, to reduce their carbon footprint by just educating the students,” said Morken.
“They have a responsibility as an organization and should take this seriously as it will benefit the community and reputation of the university.” Morken and Wistrom, although interviewed separately, came up with an almost identical reason for the lack of recycling. According to Morken, “It depends on people, where they grew up and what they know about the environment.”
“A lot of it comes from the home. If kids are used to recycling at home they’re going to do it when they get here. If they’re not, they’re probably not going to have any interest. I don’t think you’re going to teach that, I think it had to be learned,” said Wistrom.
Both agree that the lack of recycling has come from how the students were raised. Morken suggested that the school should have better advertisement for what can go in which containers and what cannot.
Wistrom is waiting for interested students to come and talk to him about solving this issue. “If there are some students interested, I would be more than willing to meet with them if they want to help advertise or check containers for me to get involved in that way,” said Wistrom. Wistrom also stated that he used to have random students every year come at the beginning and get involved in the recycling process. In the past few years, however, that hasn’t been the case.
Recycling at North Park University will continue to be an issue until students take it upon themselves to follow the instructions written on the containers.