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Dorm room recycling bins would be welcome addition to resident life

BY DI EDITORIAL BOARD | NOVEMBER 16, 2010 7:20 AM

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When asked how often he recycles, Daum resident James Skvor's reply was brief: "rarely." While the UI sophomore is well aware of his recycling options in the dorm, it's not surprising he and others don't make the trek to the basement to do so.

Action could soon supplant indolence, however. After all, what could possibly be more convenient than having a recycling bin located in the confines of your dorm room?

Assuming University Housing and Dining officials approve the proposal, University of Iowa students in the residence halls can look forward to new black and gold recycling bins featuring UISG's logo next school year.

The Editorial Board strongly endorses this proposed plan and applauds UISG for its role in the hefty project. While we encourage students to recycle whenever possible, the myriad discarded plastic bottles indicate they don't always opt to. Including bins in each dorm room would be an easy way to increase recycling, without hortatory excess.

While the recycling-bin proposal has been circling for some time, it was recently submitted by Quadrangle hall coordinator Alandis Johnson and West Side area coordinator Lindsay Jarratt. The Associated Residence Hall Senate unanimously backed the measure.

"It was simple to decide this was the route that we needed to take," Associated Residence Halls finance director and UISG Sen. Sunny Kothari wrote via e-mail.

However, great ideas don't come cheap, and funding is always a concern. As finance director of the Associated Residence Halls, Kothari has worked to help fund the recycling bins, which are estimated to cost approximately $20,000.

While University Housing could foot the bill for the bins, other projects it deals with could relegate the recycling-bin proposal to the back burner for a few years. Kothari said he is hoping to use his connections to find a select few contributors to help fund the project so action could take place sooner, however.

"The goal is as little financial hindrance to residents as possible, while getting these bins into the halls," he wrote via e-mail, "It is important to make recycling a collaborative effort to alleviate strains on the hefty price tag."

Kothari is determined to see the project implemented by next fall, and he would like to do so at little to no cost to students; we applaud his persistence.

Discarded plastic containers and glass bottles are a blight on our environment, saturating our landfills and polluting our water. In contrast, recycling saves energy, landfill space, and natural resources. Thus, university and student leaders are correct to emphasize its importance.

The UI has implemented other sustainability measures in previous years, such as installing large recycling containers in residence-hall basements. While these initiatives have been positive steps, we're confident dorm-room recycling bins would build on such measures.

If Skvor is any indication, the personal bins would lead to much higher on-campus recycling rates. "I would recycle everything I could if it was in my room," the biology major said.


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