Recycling at The Flats was gone for a year. Now it’s back.

Lianna Norman, Editor-in-Chief

UNF Housing has an entire web page with tips for students on how to practice sustainability while living on campus. “We provide recycling bins in each residential space in all seven housing areas,” boasts the list of ways that housing and residence life contribute to campus sustainability.

If you’re a student, you may not have the resources to buy wholesale or compost your food waste but you can recycle. Recycling is one of the easiest ways for you to live a more sustainable lifestyle, but maybe not for students who have lived at The Flats in the last year.

James Taylor is the coordinator for the Environmental Center at UNF.  When it comes to recycling on campus, the Environmental Center is in charge of promoting and raising awareness for proper recycling practices.

“We don’t really get in the business of collecting or anything like that,” Taylor said. “We host some educational programs like documentaries or speakers, we’ve done tours of the recycling facility, we do a lot of social media interactions.”

Despite the efforts of the center to educate the campus community about the dos and don’ts of recycling, Taylor said it can be to recycle properly.

“It’s kind of a tricky thing. There [have] been a lot of problems in the past with students throwing trash in the recycling bins,” Taylor said. “I don’t know if you’ve watched a dumpster at the housing facilities. A lot of students kind of chuck it over. They don’t really care where it lands.”

If some students misuse recycling facilities, should their opportunity to recycle be taken away altogether? Students who live at the Flats at UNF are given personal recycling bins for their apartments, but there’s no recycling-specific compactor for them to take their recyclables. Most of them end up throwing their recycling out with their regular waste. They don’t have another option.

Robert “Bob” Boyle is the senior director at UNF’s Department of Housing and Residence life. Boyle cited two different reasons for why the recycling compactor has been removed from The Flats housing. Boyle originally said that the recycling compactor had rusting on the bottom, for which it was taken away to be repaired, and is anticipated to be back this week. A few minutes later, Boyle said that it was a cost issue.

“Ideally, we’d like to have a trash compactor and a recycling compactor at The Flats but the price of that is a little prohibitive,” Boyle said.

Emma Finnegan is a student at UNF and this is her second year living at The Flats. She was surprised to hear that Boyle said the recycling compactor would allegedly be back this week, claiming that there hasn’t been one since she started living there over a year ago.

“I remember that was one of the first things that we noticed, was that there wasn’t a recycling compactor,” Finnegan said. “Which is ironic because we have recycling bins.”

According to Finnegan, the day after Boyle promised the replacement of the recycling compactor at The Flats, there was one. For the first time in a year, residents of The Flats can participate in recycling on campus.


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