By Gillian Reinhard ’20
Green Campus has taken steps this semester to address issues of recycling across the community. Led by Naty Bush ’19 and Matthew Boyle ’19, several students have taken the initiative to create a better environmental situation on campus. Recycling and sustainability has historically been and remains a controversial issue at Trinity.
Trinity recycles in several, though not all, buildings, under the auspices of the Sustainability Department of Facilities. If a bin is correctly filled with materials, it is recycled single-stream (meaning that newspapers, plastics, and other materials are sorted together) by the State of Connecticut. However, this creates several problems. For example, if multiple pieces of trash are incorrectly placed in the bin, nothing will be recycled. Additionally, some bins are incorrectly labeled as “paper only” or “cans and bottles only,” meaning that all other recyclable materials will be discarded.
Green Campus attributes the main issue of sustainability at Trinity to miscommunication. Many students are unaware that the campus recycles at all, while others are confused as to which materials can be recycled. To raise awareness, Green Campus has worked to promote awareness and solutions to the problem. In addition to Bush and Boyle’s efforts, other students such as Alicia Abbaspour ’18, Bailey D’Antonio ’18, Giana Moreno ’20, and Francisco Balderrama ’20 have worked to start the movement on campus by communicating with campus officials and the Facilities Department.
The first task to combat sustainability issues on campus began by taking inventory of all recycling bins on campus. This entails counting the number of bins directly available to students as well as how they are labeled-labels such as “paper only” are unnecessary, as Connecticut practices single-stream recycling. The inventory proved that recycling on campus is not as prevalent as it needs to be, and is nonexistent in some dorms such as High Rise and Vernon Place. Additionally, James Hilton ’18 is working on a project with Trinity’s community service dorm PRAXIS to make recycling bins out of shipping pallets, which will possibly be around the athletic fields and other outdoor areas.
Boyle, an intern in the Facilities Department, has identified water bottles as a major sustainability issue on campus. In a recent campaign, Boyle petitioned to eliminate or reduce the sale of water bottles by Chartwells. However, this was rejected by Chartwells’ policy and students are instead encouraged to purchase their own reusable water bottles. “Trinity’s recycling situation is better than people think it is, but it isn’t great,” commented Boyle, “More could be done about recycling and I am working on that.”
Bush continued the explanation of the positive changes towards a more sustainable campus. “I’ve been working with Joe Barber for the past year in the Community Service Office to think of ways to make us a greener campus. All projects take time, especially with projects as significant as these. Don’t expect these situations to change overnight, let alone by the end of the semester, but our goal is to get these problems fixed by the end of the academic year.” The problems facing recycling at Trinity are apparent, but with leadership, awareness and a better community in mind, a conversation on a more sustainable campus has begun.
By Gillian Reinhard ’20