STAFF EDITORIAL: UH must catch up in recycling initiatives

Slowly but surely, the University of Houston is going green. From the addition of new Coca-Cola recycling bins to Plant Operation’s purchase of three electric-powered trucks (see story, Page 1), the University is making strides toward increased sustainability and responsible use of resources. But we still have more work to do.

Sustainability and eco-friendliness are issues that will continue to be at the forefront of the minds of students at UH, and the administration’s effort is a criterion to judge not only our leaders, but also our University’s place among modern, innovative institutions. These efforts should be applauded, as with any efforts made to help the environment. Of course, more was promised, and the University must deliver.

As reported April 17 by The Daily Cougar in its Green Guide, the University was planning to establish a recycling center on campus this fall. As this has yet to come to fruition, UH continues to lag behind other Texas universities in its recycling program.

Texas A’M has a vast recycling program with a recycling center and an organization named Aggies for a Clean Tomorrow. The university also has special projects such as Move-In Cardboard Collection, held for students arriving for the fall semester, special events and displays for Texas Recycles Day and extensive recycling programs in two of its largest residence halls. This not only benefits the university, its surrounding community and the earth, but it also helps to foster a greater sense of environmental responsibility for its students.

The University of Texas also has extensive programs to get students involved in recycling and set examples for exemplary Earth stewardship, such as Trash to Treasure and the student organization Students for a Sustainable Campus, which meets at the university’s Campus Environmental Center. The school also partners with local businesses to sponsor its efforts.

Closer to home, Rice University was recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency’s WasteWise Program in 2006 for its participation in an intercollegiate recycling competition, where it beat all other Texas universities. Rice also recycles students’ old cell phones and shoes.

The University of St. Thomas came in fifth place in the Recyclemania 2008 national competition among universities. Without a concerted effort from school administrators and students this could not have been accomplished.

Our University’s administration must step up and deliver on its promises for a greener school and increase its efforts to recycle. This includes creating the promised recycling center and increasing community and student participation.

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