Why is it important to do our part?
Living in the “material world” that we do, our product use directly influences the natural environment. The DEQ states that a material’s life cycle — which includes extracting, manufacturing, transporting, and disposal — directly relates to the water we drink, the air we breathe, our area’s soil quality, and the health of ecosystems. Globally we are seeing higher consumption rates, over-packaged goods, and endless single-use plastic.
College campuses are one of the easiest places to throw things out. Students move in and out, bringing in and throwing out trash along the way. It can become easy for students to disregard what they throw out while learning to adapt to living in a university environment, alongside school and social lives. However, what’s important to remember is that our individual habits become part of a larger scale. Collectively, the campus is where we can instill these habits within our school community. Recycling and reuse habits carry out into our greater community, continue as we grow older, and create a ripple effect as we travel in our lives. At Southern Oregon University we can set an example for environmental stewardship.
SOU is fortunate to have a Recycling Center on campus. In 2019, SOU recycled 46% of its trash, which amounted to 370 tons! Recycling benefits the economy, society, and the environment. The Recycling Center creates student jobs, reduces the university’s carbon footprint, and keeps the recycled resources in the economy and out of the landfill. In addition to this, the university gets reimbursed for some of the materials it recycles, and in other cases saves money where recycling costs less than sending materials to the landfill.