Students should engage more actively in sustainability efforts


To the point is an editorial selected and debated by the editorial board and written after a majority opinion is formed. This is the Collegian’s official opinion.

When it comes to reducing waste and creating a greener environment, most of us have heard the three Rs of sustainability: reduce, reuse, recycle. These rudimentary principles help lay the groundwork for helping people cut waste.

Recycling is an easy way to contribute to the community. Regardless of the amount of material each person recycles, making a conscious effort to make even the slightest difference can make a significant impact.

Too often, however, people refuse to take a little extra effort to join the movement for a healthier, more sustainable planet.

The editorial board believes that it is everyone’s civic duty to take part in the initiative to support the three Rs of sustainability. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it also is not as difficult or inconvenient as some people make it out to be.

Being a part of the solution can be as easy as placing a recycling container next to the trash can at home. Taking two seconds to wash out the aluminum cans or plastic containers and recycling them instead of throwing them away doesn’t exactly require that people block out their schedules.

The problem, however, does not stem just from inconvenience, but rather from our attitudes. Instead of recognizing the long-term effects of our lifestyles on the environment, many people choose to remain ignorant.

According to research done by the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans only recycle 33 percent of municipal waste produced. Municipal waste, defined as waste from domestic and household items, is the waste that we as individuals can control.

Instead, we have not taken full advantage of the resources available to us. For every pop can, plastic milk jug or newspaper we recycle, we throw two others away. It’s not good enough; there is absolutely no reason for that number to be anything other than 100 percent.

Students who recycle can not only pull their weight in creating a healthier community, but can also support K-State’s sustainability initiatives and can contribute financially, and the university can earn money for the materials that are recycled.

In fact, K-State can receive anywhere from $80 to $1,100 per ton of recycled material, depending on what the material is, a significant amount of money for simply doing what is right.

The Collegian urges anyone who is not recycling to reconsider and take action in bettering our community. Take the time to think about the waste footprint we leave when we do not recycle and engage in initiatives that make our planet cleaner, healthier and more sustainable.