This summer, I was able to work on the other side of the sustainability chain here at Berea College. I took a position as a recycling team member with facilities. While working there, I was able to physically see the effects of our policies here at the Office of Sustainability and how they manifest on our campus.
Every morning from Monday to Friday, and even some weekends, I was there at eight in the morning ready to pick up the recycling bins from all over the campus. We brought the material back, sifted through bottles, plastic, glass, cardboard, e-waste, metal, compost, and even trash in order to separate and put items in their rightful place.
It was a dirty job, but working at recycling really helped me understand how important the labor of the recycling team and our initiatives as a college really are, as we diverted thousands of pounds in recyclable material from being thrown into a landfill. Specifically, one of the items we looked out for were perfectly functional and clean binders to reuse. For the past few years, the Office of Sustainability has provided recycled binders to incoming first year students from the recycling facility and offices on campus that donated to the Office of Sustainability. These binders would have gone to the landfill, but instead, hundreds of students have received free binders!
Written by: Alejandro Galeana-Salinas
Edited by: Kristina Anderson and Joan Pauly