New recycling tactic goes unnoticed by students

Luis Martinez, Administration Editor

Eastern has altered waste can labeling from “trash” to “landfill” in hopes of increasing the effectiveness of campus recycling.

Ryan Siegel, the campus energy and sustainability coordinator, said Eastern is one of many universities enabling recycling programs across the nation.

He said the current common trend is labeling waste as “landfill.”

Siegel said the term “landfill” was more descriptive than “waste” or “trash.”

“Placing something in the ‘trash’ gives a visual of putting something in a black bag that goes to the curb and disappears,” Siegel said. “Placing something in the ‘landfill’ gives a visual of actually placing an item on a pile of items in a big hole.”

Siegel also said the difference between the two mental pictures should encourage people to use recycling when possible.

Siegel said the labels were part of an expansion of recycling services.

“The new labels were to update campus signage and as part of an expansion of recycling services to decrease the amount EIU sends to the landfill and to green EIU further,” Siegel said. “State universities are under a state mandate to recycle at least 40 percent of their waste.”

Siegel said Eastern has seen an increase in recycling rates over the past year and they are aiming toward President Bill Perry’s goal of 50 percent recycled waste from Eastern.

Many students are unaware of the labeling change.

Patrick Muhne, a freshman kinesiology and sports studies major, said he did not notice the “landfill” label, but thought it was a nice idea.

“I think it’s a great idea if we are able to get everyone caring and contributing, but I believe that will be a hard task to accomplish,” Muhne said. “People just don’t think about recycling as a habit in their lives.”

Brain Anzures, a freshman pre-medicine major, did not know about the change.

He said he thinks distinctive bins will help more people recycle.

“Not many people know what’s recyclable, where goes what and everything like that,” Anzures said. “So putting your garbage in certain areas and putting your plastics in certain areas also makes it easier for the people who pick up the garbage.”

Anzures also said a small amount of people do not really care if they put their trash in the recycling.

“Here at Eastern, I think they do a very good job of putting (trash) in landfills and putting it in recycling.” Anzures said.

Anzures said Eastern should utilize social media to promote going green.

“Trying to promote through social media would be their first priority, and then followed by doing other kinds of campaigns,” Anzures said.

Muhne said Eastern go could about the usual route of putting up flyers around campus.

“What would be really good is the can (could) be decorated or set up as a basket net, where the students would want to throw stuff in the recycling, showing off their mad basketball skills like some people do in classrooms,” Muhne said.

Perry was unavailable for comment on the recycling campaign.


Luis Martinez can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]