Trash and recycling bins were removed from classrooms and offices following spring break without warning, causing confusion at GC.
The trash and recycling bins were removed during the March 17-23 period of spring break and placed in a central location in the hallways of buildings, to encourage recycling.
GC officials said the trash bins were removed because of sustainability. Sustainability is a company or school managing and simultaneously exploiting all of its available resources. GC prides itself on three things: academics, campus safety and the sustainability of the campus overall.
An example of sustainability on campus is the Wellness and Recreation Center located at West Campus. The building is low maintenance, has many windows to allow for natural light and lower electricity costs and the roof is insulated to bounce back heat from the sun to prevent high air conditioning costs.
Sylvia White, assistant director of building services at GC, said the waste receptacles located in classrooms across campus were being used for the wrong purposes, so they were removed when students were away.
“In order to support sustainability we needed to remove the trash cans,” White said. “For some reason or another we ended up having trash cans in classrooms, and I said ‘why do we have trash cans in classrooms, we are supposed to be sustainable.’”
Lori Strawder, GC’s chief sustainability officer, said that back in 2013, members from the sustainability council traveled to Clemson University to observe how they practice sustainability.
Strawder said that she and Walter Dudley, the former head of building services, modified Clemson’s program and opted to remove trash bins from offices and classrooms and instead put bins for recycling and trash in a centralized location. Each of the bins are set up with pictures so that students and sta can opt to put their recyclable plastic containers into one container and their candy bar wrapper in another.
“Over the years, since 2013, gradually the cans have kind of made their way back into classrooms, so now we are trying to get back to our original plan of pulling those trash cans,” Strawder said.
Strawder said that the bins were being mis-used and were simply not supposed to be there, so they informed staff before spring break that the removal would be happening and after the break, the bins were gone.
Austin Doyle, a junior biology major said that he supports moving trash cans outside of classrooms as long as the move is effective for GC and the sustainability on campus.
“If moving them to a more centralized area reduces the possibility of students throwing the incorrect type of material into a recycling bin then I am all for it,” Doyle said. “But if there is no positive outcome from them moving [the bins] to a centralized location, then I don’t see why they wouldn’t put the them back in classrooms.”
Graphic by Angie Yones | Art Director