Do you care about the environment? Good News! Recycling is back at WLU

While the Hilltop welcomes a brand-new class of fresh faces, our campus needs to be transparent in our initiatives, philosophies and motivations. One such question that can lead to this discussion might be – does WLU recycle? Unfortunately, the answer might have been a little foggy amid COVID-19. However, we can now confidently tell our readers that the Hilltop is recycling again, and you can participate!

Beginning sometime in the late 2000s, West Liberty’s Sustainability Council brought recycling and other green initiatives to the Hilltop in an effort to “expose the next generation on ways to achieve sustainability” and “encourage its students, employees and the community to get involved in recycling and environmental issues, while promoting a healthy campus environment,” as stated on their webpage.

The program was a huge success around the time of its creation, but seemed to fall by the wayside in the wake of all the chaos in the world, namely COVID-19; however, whenever you see a blue recycling bin on campus, rest assured that what you put in there will be recycled in a renewed effort from our campus community. Aside from providing a general introduction and some of the council’s philosophy, it also provides readers with multiple resources to guide them through their sustainability practices. For example, the Recycling page states that our campus’ program utilizes a “single-stream” approach to recycling, meaning there is no required separation of materials for the people using the bins; the web page also provides different videos with graphics that show information about the program.

Asking their participants to “Think Before You Throw,” the council encourages those who recycle to put things like aluminum, bi-metal cans, steel, glass, plastic and a slew of different paper products into the bins, while they conversely ask people to avoid putting general garbage, food waste, paper plates, paper food packaging, tires, garden hoses, freezer food packaging, wrapping paper, any chemicals/oil/paint and milk cartons with wax coatings.

Obviously, students are not alone in this endeavor and even can find role models in some of the larger groups on campus for their commitment to sustainability; one such organization is Sodexo, whose “Better Tomorrow Commitment” promises its providers that they can rest assured knowing the service they receive is what is best for “your health, for your planet, and for your community.” College campuses that utilize Sodexo’s services may take comfort in the fact that the company is committed to reducing organic and inorganic waste, as well as providing students and faculty with reusable mugs, takeout containers and trayless dining to “reduce the amount of food, packaging, energy and other resources that are wasted.”

Therefore, you are not alone in your fight for sustainability and a better tomorrow; our campus is thankfully seeing a rejuvenated effort in this endeavor, and in the wake of many, powerful events linked to severe climate change and environmental catastrophe, it is of my personal belief that this mindset will only continue to grow throughout the masses, or at least that’s what I hope for. It’s incredibly encouraging to see an institution such as West Liberty University and the Sodexo dining services providing students with such easy access to sustainable living practices, even in the moving minutiae that is recycling. However, you, as an individual, can always do more for your community, state, country and planet.

The sustainability council web page outlines some extra endeavors a person can take to increase their personal effectiveness. These include encouraging students to take notes electronically, purchasing reusable bags, and investing in one good reusable water bottle. In the end, we must keep in mind that every journey starts with one small step, even in the wake of all that our environment is currently facing, every effort helps, and every recycled piece of waste is another step in the right direction.