LU Environmental Organization to host recycling event

The Lawrence University Environmental Organization will be organizing its first-ever recycling event on Saturday, Feb. 19. The event will be hosted in the Mead Witter Room of the Warch Campus Center from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.  

According to LU Environmental Organization Co-President and senior Lauren Kelly, the recycling event is supposed to educate Lawrentians about the importance of recycling, as well as provide information about what can be recycled.  

There are compost and recycling bins in every building on campus, but they are often filled with non-recyclable waste. According to Grace Subat, the Sustainability and Special Projects Advisor for LU Environmental, they receive invoices every week about contaminated recycling and plastic bags which have been put into recycling bins.  

Kelly said that an event to educate Lawrence students about recycling felt timely given that many Lawrentians want to recycle but don’t know what can be recycled and composted or what really can’t be put in the bin.  

According to Kelly, the recycling event will feature seven booths and include recycling-themed games, such as a “Jeopardy!”-inspired game, a recycling toss (similar to a bean bag toss) and a collaborative art piece. There will also be prizes such as reusable water bottles, towels, straws, and menstrual pads, as well as recycling bins where Lawrentians can properly dispose of waste such as batteries, used electronics and plastic bags. There will also be raffle events, with prizes such as hot drink kits and plant starter kits. The event will be in-person, with masks required and activity booths distanced around Mead Witter.  

Kelly stressed the importance of recycling at Lawrence in order to promote sustainable behavior, divert waste from the landfill and avoid fines from the waste facility. She also talked about the importance of doing our part to protect the environment and repurpose the materials we use, such as initiatives to turn plastic bags into benches and that compost into gardens.  

As part of its sustainability efforts, LU Environmental Organization has also partnered with the Big Green Box program to recycle batteries and electronics. According to Subat, proper waste management has been a big part of the sustainability movement on campus, because things that aren’t recycled end up in landfills or pollute waterways, which is harmful to us and the environment.  

Kelly hopes that events like these will help make environmentalism on campus accessible to everyone, since not everyone can afford reusable products. For example, the battery recycling boxes from the Big Green Box program range from $36-65, and the boxes for recycling bigger electronics cost between $60 and $80. Since LU Environmental Organization pays for the boxes, students from less privileged economic backgrounds can recycle batteries and electronics without buying the boxes themselves.  

Likewise, she said that some students come from places that don’t have good recycling programs and stressed the importance of education about recycling and composting.    

“We have more power to change how things are done here than we do outside of Lawrence,” said Kelly, “and that all counts in some way!”