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Recycling refer to the process that enables unwanted materials to be reclaimed and used in making other products. The objective is to minimize the potential waste of valuable resources. Recycling helps to reduce the waste of useful materials. It also helps in the management of the use of new raw materials. In addition, recycling minimizes the consumption of energy, as well as air and water pollution.
This is achieved through minimizing the use of conventional trash disposal, and reducing emissions from greenhouses. Recycling is a critical aspect of waste management in the modern days. It is the third aspect under the waste management hierarchy of “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle”.
The benefits of recycling are far reaching. Recycling does not only reduce and minimize waste and use of virgin, natural resources. In addition, it is a critical component in the preservation and conservation of natural resources. It also aids in the sustainable management of the environment (Wilcox, 5-6).
How to improve recycling on campus
The benefits of recycling waste in universities go beyond the financial aspects. Universities with effective recycling programs that coincide with environmental conservation programs usually attract research funding, create a good public image or brand, and enjoy good public relations with its clientele and surrounding communities.
Such institutions also attract donations, faculty staff, and students. Institutions of higher learning have to set a precedence that will be followed by business enterprises, community, and government.
Universities have to conduct researches on the possible environmental friendly and economic methods of recycling waste materials. The university needs to allocate significant funds for the purpose of establishing a recycling center within the university. This center will handle all recyclable waste generated within its premises.
As currently constituted, the number of individuals actively involved in the recycling program is very low compared to the total population around the campus. The personnel include 15 students, 6 interns, and campus employees, and they are not sufficient to cover all areas of the campus.
Universities are similar to large companies. They have many departments that produce different kinds of waste. The university should carry out awareness programs to educate students and staff on the need for recycling waste products.
Recycling needs to start from each department where several recycle bins can be placed, each for a certain waste. This will minimize the time spent while sorting out waste to be recycled. Trash cans or bins should be clearly labeled, whether it is for organic, plastic, or metal waste to avoid mixing of recyclable waste (Wilcox, 9-10).
In this modern age of technology, the campus administration should embrace new forms of information communications that do not require the use of papers. Notably, papers form the bulk of waste around the campus precinct. The current use of traditional notice boards that require the use of paper notices pinned on notice boards pose a threat to the cleanliness of the university environment.
After the expiry of the notices or posters, they have to be removed so that new posters and notices can be displayed. This recurrent cycle generates a lot of paper waste around the campus.
The university should consider making use of email and mobile phone short messaging services in order to disseminate information and communicate with the staff and students. Official documents such as memos, newsletters, and notices can be sent to personal email.
It has been noted that social media sites are the newest revolution in information communication technology. In fact, the influence of social media sites has been credited with the recent political revolutions in the Middle East and Arab countries such as Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Tunisia.
Most of the social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have been interlinked. This means that one can use any one of them to send communication, and there is no need to register with all of them.
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The university should invest in electronic billboards and notice boards such as the ones used in commodity advertising. This will help in reducing the waste paper that is generated around the campus. In the long term, it will significantly reduce the financial cost related to the acquisition of stationery and printing costs.
How to improve the diversion rate
When joining the program, the diversion rate was at about 40%. However, at the moment, we can have a boost of a diversion rate of 80%. There is still room for improvement and adequate steps must be taken to ensure that we attain at least 100% diversion rate.
Some of these steps should include the offering of incentives and cash prizes to the departments that are able to collect the highest quantity of recyclable materials from their departments. The university administration can also come up with annual, monthly, and weekly social events that may include collection of waste and trash.
These events can be organized in the form of group, department of faculty competitions. The winning groups can be given incentives such as scholarships for their members or subsidies in relation to other university fees. This will create considerable awareness and motivate people to join and take part in recycling activities.
For sustainable conservation and management of the environment for the current and future generation, universities have to take the lead in developing recycling programs. Awareness and knowledge need to be communicated to the society. There is no other better way of achieving this noble objective apart from establishing recycling programs within institutions of higher learning.
Wilcox, Charlotte. Recycling and Waste Management. Minneapolis, Minn: Lerner Publication Co., 2007. Print.