In the spectrum of how best to protect our landfills, recycling may not top the charts, but it is a rung on the ladder to getting there. While every sustainability group at Duke hopes to inculcate behaviour change and get members of the Duke community to reduce consumption, fixing recycling practices will have positive short-term effects. Sustainable Duke and the Duke Sustainability Board have plans to improve recycling on campus, giving way to mindful consumption and disposal.
The challenges facing recycling on campus range from improper recycling practices to the absolute dearth of recycling. Reasons for this can be broadly categorized into hard to change behavior, a shortage of infrastructure and a lack of education. Although bringing consistency to the types of recycling and general waste bins around campus is a longer battle, efforts are currently being made to provide uniform signage to all recycling bins on campus. To tackle the lack of education surrounding the proper use of recycling bins, recycling signage on campus is scheduled to undergo a facelift in the coming months. This is going to start off with ensuring that all recycling bins are associated with Sustainable Duke and are easy to spot while looking for a recycle bin.
The concept of “local recycling” is being put to practice, with recycling bins providing information on how to recycle waste that is generated in that specific part of campus. For everyone who has ever stood confused in front of a recycling bin, trying to figure out if their takeaway container can go in the same bin as their utensils, Shadow Boxes will soon be there to provide guidance. These boxes will act as displays of the waste that can go into the specific bin and provide directions to the nearest bins for other types of waste. Shadow Boxes and improved signage are just a few of the many steps being taken to cultivate the practices of a sustainable lifestyle amongst the Duke community.