Cross: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Story by Mykaela Cross, Assistant Editor

It really wasn’t that long ago that television advertisements and environmentalist groups were actively advising consumers to “go green.” The famous triangle of arrows representing recycling was everywhere I looked.

As I look around today, I find myself asking, “What happened?”

Related Story

New limits placed on local recycling

I can remember elementary school when they gave us gold stars for recycling. I remember middle school when we all volunteered to take the recycling out to the bins because we thought saving the earth was cool. But what about today?

Baker’s campus gives students the opportunity to recycle, yet I see wads and piles of paper in the library trash cans nearly everyday. I’ll admit it, I’m just as guilty as the next person. When I’m running late to class or in a hurry, I typically take the fast way out and use the trash cans.

There are also those moments when I’m wondering if it’s really worth the time and effort to tear the metal staple out, discard it, and then recycle the paper, when the trash can is an easier route.

Because, as the common thought goes, one person recycling really won’t make a difference. What good would it do if I recycled, I’m only one person in a world of billions?

That’s the problem.

My grandma’s words opened my eyes to the decline in the recycling “gusto.” She has recycled aluminum cans for as long as I can remember. I was stepping on the pedal to open the trash can lid to throw away my soda when she saw what I intended to do and stopped me.

I asked her what the big deal was – we didn’t recycle because we didn’t see it making a difference in the long run, and she replied that she wished that fewer people felt the way that I did. She said that it makes her own recycling matter even more.

The cold truth is that everyone on the planet doesn’t feel the same way as my grandmother does about recycling, but she was right. She made me realize that I don’t have to be a recycling fanatic to make a difference.

Baker University helps students by making that difference almost effortless. With recycling bins scattered around campus, it’s that much easier to relive the days when I worried about bigger things than my final papers, like the earth.

I’ve come to the realization that if every Baker student and faculty member took the opportunities that arise to take those few extra steps, get rid of inconveniences like staples, and listen to people like my grandma, our campus alone could make a very “green” impact.

I remember the days when we drew little planets in class on Earth day because it meant something. Do you?