Taking out the trash, for some college students, is getting more complicated. GW students who live in residence halls are sorting their cans, newspapers and glass as part of a national trend to “reduce, reuse and recycle.”
On campus, GW is incorporating recycling into residents’ daily lives as a part of its schoolwide system of recycling in residence halls.
“I think each year we’re getting better and better at it,” said Tony Dillard, an employee of GW’s Recycling Management. “Recycling takes an effort on everyone’s part.”
Loretta Milbourne, housekeeping manager for residence halls, said many recyclable items are collected in residence halls.
“Basically, we set out in residence halls different recycling containers for newspaper, aluminum and glass, and white paper in some (residence halls),” she said. Milbourne said recycling newspapers is most prevalent in freshman residence halls.
Some students said New Hall, which has separate waste containers for glass, aluminum, plastic, newspaper and mixed paper in every room, remains the front-runner for recycling around campus.
“It’s so easy to do, the way it’s set up, that everyone just recycles without thinking about it,” sophomore resident Jonathan Owen said.
Owen said New Hall’s recycling program has incorporated recycling into residents’ daily lives.
“Probably more recycling gets done in New Hall, just because it’s really simple,” said Thurston Community Facilitator James Moniz.
Residents in Fulbright Hall, which has recycling receptacles on each floor, said their building makes more of an effort to recycle than other residence halls.
Freshman Brian Krause lives in Thurston Hall and said he is adamant about recycling.
“It’s very easy because (the recycling bins) are in the laundry room,” he said. “The laundry room is open 24 hours a day, so there’s no excuse not to recycle here.”
“It’s pretty decent,” said Fulbright Hall resident Brian Elderding, talking about the building’s recycling program. “I lived in Thurston last year, and it’s definitely better here.”
Many students said they are not aware of a place to recycle and find it difficult to separate trash in their rooms.
“I’m not really into (recycling), but I would do it if it was there, and I think a lot of people feel that way,” Thurston resident Kate Heiberg said. “They should make it clear that there is recycling here.”
Somers Hall, which houses freshmen and some sophomores on GW’s Mount Vernon campus, recently acquired recycling facilities, freshman resident Tori Reimann said.
“At some of our meetings, people mentioned that it would be nice if we could recycle,” she said. “I just saw it (on Monday). I’m really glad we got the bins there. It just seems like the right thing to do.”
Residents of Thurston and Mitchell halls said they would prefer a system like that of New Hall in their residence halls.
“We don’t have any place to put our cans and stuff,” Thurston resident John Monroe said. “You could sort it out right there, when you’re done with something,” he said.
Fire code regulations limit recycling options in residence halls such as Mitchell Hall, which has narrow hallways, Dillard said.
The Residence Hall Association is taking steps to unify the recycling systems of the residence halls.
“This year, we’re going to try to make it available for students in other halls to have the containers in their rooms like New Hall,” RHA President Alan Elias said.
He said offering students simpler recycling options will push the University’s efforts to cut waste.
“We do it in the room,” Elias said. “It provides the option right there, so students are going to do it.”