Every day, Weber State University students pass many recycling bins around campus. Bins are now paired with trash cans, organizing them into a buddy system in most buildings, making it easier for students to utilize them.
“If there is a bin available, I recycle whenever possible,” said Parker Alexander, a public relations major at WSU.
Alexander isn’t the only student taking advantage of the increased availability of bins.
“It’s great that the bins are everywhere now,” said Tyson Bradshaw, a sophomore at WSU. “Whenever I finish a drink, I can recycle the bottle wherever I am, instead of just throwing it away or carrying it around until I find a recycle bin.”
The prominence and accessibility of the bins might be new, but the concept of recycling has been around for many decades.
“People have been recycling for ages, but they didn’t use bins; they just reused what they had,” said Kimmy Tribe, a family studies major at WSU. “When your resources are limited, you get the most out of any given object.”
The 1970s have been heralded as the period when recycling came into the public eye and programs funded by cities and states started to emerge. Large-scale recycling before then was primarily aluminum and other metals needed to make war materials during both world wars. The first curbside service for recycling is credited to Berkley, Calif., in 1973. Before large-scale programs, recycling mostly took place in individual households in the form of repurposing and reuse.
Now curbside recycling services are common in most cities, including Ogden and the surrounding area. Bountiful, Roy, Hooper, Pleasant View and Kaysville are just a few cities that have instituted curbside recycling over the past few years. This gives WSU students the opportunity to recycle not only at school, but at home as well. The exception is Layton residents.
“Layton doesn’t recycle, so it’s not something I grew up around,” said Jesika Benedict, an English major at WSU. “It’s not something that ever came up in my house, and so I don’t always think about it.”
With an ever-increasing number of green initiatives and green marketing campaigns, students might be hard-pressed not to think about recycling.
“It’s everywhere,” Alexander said. “You can find anything that is either made out of recycled materials or that can be recycled to make other things.”
The recycling page of the Environmental Protection Agency’s website states that recycling “generates a host of financial, environmental, and social returns.” The EPA made a goal to increase national recycling to 40 percent by this year.
With the increased availability and use of recycle bins on campus, WSU students can help the EPA reach that goal. The bins are all marked and have guidelines of what can be placed in them posted on the side so that students know which can to put items in.
“Now that the bins are right next to trash cans, I don’t see why people wouldn’t use them,” Tribe said. “It’s not like they have to go out of their way to recycle. It’s super easy.”