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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Be Green, Be Responsible

Be Green, Be Responsible

The city of Boston was recently ousted for having one of the lowest recycling rates in Massachusetts, which could be seen as embarrassing compared to the high recycling rates of other cities in the state. Fortunately, Boston colleges can boast a much stronger responsibility to the environment, and UMass Boston is a leading example.

According to UMBe Green, the average person generates about 2.2 pounds of garbage daily. That might not sound like much, but when multiplied by the 11,682 students on campus, it adds up to 25,700 pounds of trash every day.

Recognizing the impact all that garbage has on the planet, UMBe Green was established in the late 1990s to work with departments throughout the university “to ensure that we are doing our share to reduce our environmental footprint.”

“Recycling helps reduce our burden on landfills and incinerators as well as reduce the depletion of natural resources and energy due to manufacturing,” Aditi Pain, manager of the Recycling and Sustainability Program, said, “thus helping to reduce our impact on global warming […] this [means] so much more than having a blue recycling bin.”

The 500,000 pounds of material that UMass Boston recycles ever year includes such basics as cardboard, paper, bottles and cans, but it also includes items like broken office furniture, metal from lockers, old appliances and printer cartridges.

Additionally, UMass Boston also forms more than 30,000 pounds of compost each year from the biodegradable waste from campus dining areas and gardens.

In 2005, UMBe Green also worked with campus dining areas to initiate project STYROFOAM- IT’S HISTORY. Pain explained that this program involved switching over to paper dinnerware in all cafeterias, thereby “banishing Styrofoam.”

Other recent projects include DON’T JUST RECYCLE, E-CYCLE, launched in 2006 to promote recycling of electronic materials. With the increasing prevalence of items like cell phones and iPods, it is becoming increasingly important that people take responsibility for the waste those items produce, which Pain describes as an “emerging global pollution problem.”

Pain emphasized that recycling is an issue that requires both communal and personal responsibility.

“Many items that are currently being recycled were suggested by students, staff or faculty,” Pain said. “But as always, individual responsibility is key-such as the ability to develop a blind spot for the trash bin and taking a moment to sort and recycle.”

She also has a few tips that individuals can use to lessen their impact on the environment.

“Next time try bringing a re-useable cup [Campus Dining will give 10 cents off of coffee or tea] and utensils, or make sure your office has a blue recycling bin or your next event has an appropriate recycling setup. Every effort counts.”