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LETTER: Ask public officials to make recycling easier for students

Being a student who wants to recycle while living in Union Square has been a bit of a challenge since I moved here in 2010.

If I have garbage, I would just take it out to the apartment dumpster. But what do I do with a bag full or newspapers or a bag full of plastic bottles with no deposit or a handful of dead AA batteries? I have to pile everything into my car, drive over to CMU and drop off the papers and plastics at a giant blue recycling dumpster -- except for the AA batteries, I place those in a small recycling bin in Woldt Hall. After making such a trip, I ask myself the same question: “Why are there no recycling bins in my apartment complex?”

I’m not the first person to ask this question. Many students have pondered this for years now, curious as to why their off-campus homes don’t provide the most basic of recycling options such as paper bins. With a growing concern for the environment and the major pushes CMU has undergone to promote recycling, it seems a little odd that apartment complexes have not followed suit and stick with their lonely dumpsters. The only recycling option I ever received during my stay in Union Square was recycling my refrigerator to Consumers Energy. It would be nice to have more options when it comes to our recyclable waste, besides my refrigerator.

What makes this topic even more frustrating is that a number of students have tried to start up off-campus recycling for years now. I’ve been in the SGA for close to two years now, and every time a committee or students try to get the ball rolling for off-campus recycling, the project has fallen short of its goals. The task always seems to be too hard or too complex since multiple apartment and legal affairs hinder the operation. But this curse might be broken this year with the help of the newly formed sustainability committee.

The sustainability committee is undertaking a number of tasks this year, one of which is the creation of off-campus recycling. This is possible, assuming it’s supported by the public. According to Union Township's government, the move to create off-campus recycling would be considered as long as it has support from their residents. That is where you, a fellow student, come in.

If off-campus recycling is going to work, we students must step up and show support of this action. Write a letter to Union Township government or Mount Pleasant's City Commission; sign a petition that the sustainability committee will be handing out soon; or talk to your landlord about recycling options for your home.

Together, the students of CMU can make off-campus recycling a reality. Giving us more to recycle in our apartments other than our refrigerators.


Daniel Breitenbach

White Lake senior