By Tova Shmulewitz
In a time of growing environmental activism, people are increasingly concerning themselves with issues relating to plastic waste and the environment. Emerging videos of turtles with plastic straws up their noses have arguably been a cause for the decline in the use of plastic straws in many businesses, including Starbucks, as well as a cause for the rise in reusable straw sales. At Yeshiva University, it has become clear to a few students that this issue may not be cared about or noticed by our school’s administration and its students.
In a survey taken of students at Stern College, it became abundantly clear that not only do many students not bother to recycle at all, but they are unsure of which bins are supposed to be used for which recyclables. Even more shocking, a majority of students claimed that they do not believe that the school actually recycles the products placed in the bins, which are located on every floor of all the dorms and school buildings. While these bins are labelled with what should be put in each one, many students do not take the time to read the labels. If the students do not believe that the school is actually recycling what is in those bins, then what is the point of making sure you’ve put your waste in the correct bin?
This is what the new club on campus, YU Recycles, aims to improve. As co-presidents, Ellie Bokor, SCW ‘21, and I, started this club as a response to rumors we have both heard about YU not actually recycling, as well as in reaction to seeing multiple students throw away trash in the recycling bins rather than down the trash chute. With this new club, we aim to increase and improve on communication between the administration and its student body regarding recycling. Our mission is to find out once and for all if YU really does recycle our waste, while also focusing on making improvements in the amount of recycling students themselves do. We will do this by creating initiatives to raise awareness to the dangers not recycling poses to our planet, as well as bringing in fascinating speakers, from environmental experts to trash collectors.
While all exciting events have been put on pause due to the coronavirus outbreak and the introduction of online classes, after Pesach we will continue to encourage everyone to think more about what we are throwing out versus what could be recycled. Similarly, for those still on campus, familiarize yourselves with the different types of recycling bins in the dorm hallways, and remember that the package center on the Beren Campus does have a place to recycle all empty boxes, so bear that in mind next time you receive a package!
Let’s get YU recycling!