Look around. You probably see a waste basket in the classroom, dining hall or dormitory where you are reading this paper, but no place to recycle the 22 pages of newsprint in your hands. And more than likely, there's no place nearby to recycle your Diet Coke can or Snapple bottle either. The fact is that Penn's recycling resources woefully underserve this community. The University recycles about 26 percent of its trash -- perhaps a good figure a decade ago, when Penn last looked at its recycling policy, but today below the national average of 28 percent of the City of Philadelphia's 35.2 percent. The reasons for this should be recognizable to most students. Penn's recycling "igloos" are few and far between, and not located near where the bottles or cans are actually used. Houston Market doesn't have any recycling facilities, nor do the outdoor seating areas at Sansom Common and the Compass. And the few recycling bins in the college houses are not properly publicized to students. Some might argue that the responsibility rests on the students to take their recyclables to the appropriate drop-off location. But that criticism misses the point; if the University is to make recycling a priority -- as we believe it should -- then it should make the process as simple and convenient as possible. The Undergraduate Assembly and the Penn Environmental Group are justified in calling for more and better recycling options on campus, particularly in student housing. This is an issue on which Penn should be a leader, not lagging the rest of the country. In the meantime, we hope students will do what they can to separate their aluminum, glass and plastic from the regular trash. If students express a desire for change, then maybe, someday, you'll be able to recycle this paper.Comments powered by Disqus
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