Small steps affect recycling potential of Whitman

Maren Schiffer

Recycling programs and facilities are a bragging right of the Whitman College community. However, they depend on student participation, which often is less than perfect.

Photo Credit: Marie von Hafften

Sophomore Andrew Strong, Resident Adviser of the Environmental House (otherwise known as the Outhouse) said that often people do not clean food off of their recycled containers, which makes them un-recyclable.

“It’s the little things that add up,” said Outhouse resident sophomore Danielle Broida. “I’m sure about 50 percent of what could be recycled is not, and it is up to students to put in the extra efforts that will later make a difference.”

Whitman Landscape Specialist and Recycling Coordinator  Bob Biles and residents of the Outhouse head the college’s recycling efforts. The Outhouse collects and sorts recycling from every residence hall on campus.  All fraternity and Interest House recycling goes directly to Walla Walla Recycling and eventually makes its way to a plant in Tacoma.

“The closest recycling facility is in Tacoma : not very efficient in terms of carbon emissions, but it is all there is,” said Broida.

Strong added that Walla Walla Recycling works to decrease the amount of waste it exports.

“They will try to sell this accumulated waste locally before taking it to the [Tacoma] plant. For example, paper is sold to WWR, [which] then [sells] it to a paper company in Spokane, from which the Union Bulletin buys its paper,” he said.