The life of a water bottle doesn’t end when it is placed in the trash can. Used water bottles will either become permanent landfill occupants or be remade into recycled items. It is up to an individual to choose whether they want to recycle their bottles or have them pollute the environment.
In hopes of raising awareness about recycling, reusing, and reducing trash, Texas A&M University-Kingsville was the site Earth Week. The event was hosted by TAMUK’s Office of Campus Sustainability, who collaborated with Aramark and University Housing and Residence Life to promote green alternatives. From April 17-21, students participated in events that were themed after green jobs and green spaces.
The week kicked-off with the plantation of the newly certified Monarch Waystation-The Javelina Monarch Kingdom. Containing milkweeds and nectar plants, the Waystation promotes monarch conservation. Participants and volunteers also installed a new xeriscape garden in front of the Javelina House.
Festivities continued on April 18 at the Student Union Building, where Executive Chef Craig Prestero showcased dishes made from fresh ingredients from the Javelina Pallet Garden. Prestero used the garden ingredient to create a classic quiche and pickled radishes. After the lunch, students participated in the Amazing Hoggie Race, an event that had cycling teams travel around campus solving riddles and competing for prizes.
The next day, students were treated to a dine-in-the-dark lunch at Turner-Bishop and the Javelina Dining Hall. The event showcased the importance of conserving energy throughout campus. Later in the day, Lucio Hall had an outdoor movie event, where students brought their own bowls and cups to prevent waste.
Thursday events had students going behind the scenes of Tunrer-Bishop and the Javelina Dining Hall. Students saw first-hand the amount of food they waste per day and calculated how much is accumulated throughout a week. At Gross Hall, engineering students were invited to a symposium entitled Environment Sustainability and the 21st Century Students.
The week-long event came to an end on April 21 with the Earth Day Fair. Various organizations, including the Office of Campus Sustainability, Energy Management, and the National Society of Black Engineers had booths that presented information on green practices while having students engage in activities.
When it comes to recycling, many students agree that it is an important habit students should exercise. Vanessa Guerra, a sophomore majoring in mathematics, and Chelsea Peralez, a freshman majoring in education, state that they often recycle their plastic bottles and bags.
Director of the Office of Campus Sustainability, Kellie-mae Goddard-Sobers, thinks students should try to make recycling a continuous habit, however, she admits that some things need to change.
“There are things we (the Office of Campus Sustainability) can improve. We want students to embrace recycling, but there are often issues with putting liquids in recycling bins. Students should know that bottles that still have liquid contaminate the entire bin,” Goddard-Sobers explained.
Recently, the landfill belonging to Kingsville and the surrounding areas had to get a new approval because it was running out of room. Such situations highlight the importance of choosing to recycle and pursue green alternatives.