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Wenzdae Wendling

UVM needs more waste bins

October 13, 2021

Discarded Yerba Mate cans, Dunkin’ Donuts coffee cups and empty chip bags from the Northside “dining hall” decorate the grounds of UVM’s campus. 

Although trash is common, trash cans aren’t.

The lack of trash bins on UVM’s campus makes properly disposing of your waste an inconvenient task.   

Our campus needs more waste disposal options outside to cut down on the litter around campus, especially after Friday and Saturday nights. Plenty of trash lay under bushes, storm drains and outside dorm buildings.  

“Catgunning,” a tradition where students break open beers on the Catamount statue, leaves cans strewn around campus.  

Traditions like these aren’t going away, and neither is litter. 

People will always have waste of some kind, so where it ends up is worth considering.

COVID-19 caused an influx of waste, especially in single-use plastics and protective measures like masks and face shields, according to an August 2020 National Center for Biotechnology Information study. 

On top of the typical litter, disposable masks lay around campus. Before the pandemic, this wasn’t a problem. 

UVM campus comprises 460 acres and nine residential complexes to attend to, along with numerous parking lots and other buildings, according to a 2020 U.S. News and World report.

UVM maintenance takes care of all that land; there is not much extra time to focus on picking discarded Red Bull cans out of bushes. 

Restrooms are some of the only places where it’s easy to find a trash can on campus.

The most accessible place is the Davis Center with trash, compost and recycling bins.

The Davis center adheres to the Universal Recycling Law, but outside of the Davis Center, there are few places to throw things out properly.

The Universal Recycling Law mandates the separation of compostables and recyclables. 

So not only is the lack of trash cans causing litter, it is also combining all waste into one bag that goes to the landfill, when it should be separated.

UVM needs to adhere to this law and create more accessible compost and recycling bins around campus to lessen litter and recycle properly.

Under the current system, thoughts about saving the environment go straight to the non-existent trash cans. 

UVM brands itself as “green” to incoming students.  UVM ranks No. 4 in the country for greenest colleges, according to an October 2019 Princeton Review article.    

However, litter around campus and not providing recycling and compost bins doesn’t align with that ranking. 

If UVM wants to stay true to the fourth place ranking, then waste control will have to become a priority.

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