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ENVSTD 121 – Let’s Get Wasted: A Closer Look at What We Recycle

Keeli Branin, Ashleigh Johnson, Logan Maestas, Ella Nefzger
Dr. Mari Rice – ENVSTD 121
BSU Campus Sustainability

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Introduction

Learning Goals:

Develop a better understanding of an effort to reduce contamination and to increase our campus-wide recycling rate of valuable materials.

Discover how many people actually recycle correctly and what can be recycled and what shouldn’t.

Course ConceptsTwo people excited to volunteer

Ecological footprint is an analysis that tries to tally the area of land required for each category of consumption and waste discharge, to make human consumption impacts more visible.

Waste Stream is the steady flow of materials from “upstream” processes such as extraction, production, and distribution to their disposal

Sustainability is the management of natural resources in ways that do not diminish or degrade Earth’s ability to provide them in the future

Reflection

Throughout the semester of Spring 2023, our group has worked closely with campus sustainability to aide in recycling at Extra Mile Arena events. We have been able to connect course concepts from class to our work together. Recycling plays an important role in maintaining a healthy and safe environment. Additionally, through hands-on experience with guidance from educated instructors, we worked closely with our teammates towards a common goal.

This experience has allowed each group member to better understand the importance of recycling and the work that goes into it. Being on the other side of the process has made us aware of the obstacles and challenges that are associated with recycling in the community. We have discussed possible solutions and critiques to our procedure, our main objective being to make recycling more accessible for all. The more society knows about recycling, the more likely they are to participate.

Completing service- learning activities like these ensures that more students gain a stronger understanding of the significance of our ecological footprint and environmental impact. Because the process of recycling can be deceiving, it is crucial we learn how to do it properly to reduce waste sent to landfills and to conserve energy. We discovered the importance of waste minimization and how to work together to prevent it. This service learning journey has benefited each of us individually and will continue to impact our lives as we work towards a cleaner Earth.

Community Partner: BSU Campus Sustainability 

Mission Statement:

“Boise State Campus Sustainability builds empowered, equitable, resilient communities by facilitating education, diverse collaboration, and civic engagement to create an ever-growing healthy and sustainable university.”

Project Purpose/Community Identified Need:

Strive for the evolution of sustainable practices, educate the public on Idaho recycling rules, ensure proper reuse at large-scale events, aid local vendors and employees

Two recycling bins full of cans and cardboard

Methods

  • Regularly check waste receptacles for misplaced recyclables.
  • Inversely, check recycling bins for misplaced waste and properly empty if full
  • Collect cardboard from concessions
  • Educate event attendees regarding current waste concerns and proper practices

Results

In our own, small way, we certainly made a difference. I wish we had a statistic for the amount of cans we saved from the landfill! Employees were grateful for our help and folks were receptive and interested to learn more about recycling.

Recycling rules can be vague and complicated, especially for plastics. There is a large need for education in this area. Simply knowing which plastics can be recycled and to wash out contaminated items can make all the difference!