Letter to the editor: Responding to ‘Lehigh sustainability concerns’

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This is a response to a letter to the editor in the December 8 edition.

At Lehigh, we are committed to preserving natural resources and recognize the role that eliminating, reducing, reusing and recycling serves in enhancing the sustainability of campus operations. Over the last several years, Lehigh has increased its waste diversion rate by over 10 percent. Last year, Lehigh diverted 56 percent of its waste from the waste stream through our recycling streams, composting of landscaping materials and donations.  Facilities Services collects and tracks the invoice data for all waste and recycling streams on campus. The high level summary of this comprehensive dataset is posted live.

Although Lehigh has made strides in improving its overall waste diversion rate, Lehigh’s single-stream recycling rate still has room for improvement. The university community as a whole plays a key role in helping to improve this. The Eco-Reps are actively involved in peer-to-peer educational outreach in residential halls and Greek houses on waste and recycling. They do trash and recycling bin audits during the academic year, ensure the waste closets have trash and recycling signage and do waste audits in Greek houses and residential halls.

In February and March, Lehigh will be participating for the sixth year in Recyclemania, a national waste diversion and recycling competition against colleges and universities to promote waste reduction activities in campus communities. The goals during Recyclemania are to motivate Lehigh students, faculty and staff to increase recycling efforts and reduce waste generation and create attention and support for campus recycling programs.  The Office of Sustainability, Facilities Services, Eco-Reps and other departments and campus organizations will be actively promoting waste reduction and recycling efforts.

We encourage you to join others on campus in this effort, whether by joining a campus organization, or something as small as reminding your friends to recycle. When it comes to sustainability, responsibility lies with all of us to make a difference.

Office of Sustainability and Facilities Services

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1 Comment

  1. Robert Davenport on

    Good luck with getting people to buy in to recycling. It seems to be human nature, especially in the US to be against anything that someone else wants you to do for “greater benefit”. This seems to be true even if the only effort to be made is mental rather than physical. If additional physical effort is needed, forget about it. Consider the 2$ bill usage in the US; Americans refuse to use the bill. Canadians have no problem with their $2 bill although they may have problems with their $1 coin.

    Some people may be so contrary that they will attempt to sabotage attempts at recycling.

    A solution might be found by connecting a popular activity of those who won’t recycle to recycling. Time to get creative.

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