UGA’s Environmental Communication class is currently working on a recycling project in Athens that impacts not only students who live in the surrounding campus area, but also the planet.
My fellow classmates and I have discovered that despite the fact that there was a county ordinance that was put into action in 2012 mandating that all businesses provide recycling, many off-campus housing locations, where hundreds of individuals live, are not responding to the ordinance until the county office calls them individually.
Students and locals who live in the area surrounding the campus are forced to throw away copious amounts of recyclable materials instead of disposing of it properly. This is not because the individuals who live in these complexes do not care about the environment. Rather, they feel they have no other option.
Apartment complexes have been known to wait two years before they report the new ordinance to their corporate office. Others that have complied with the ordinance have done so in a manner simply to meet the lowest requirements and appear to feel no moral obligation to help protect the environment.
What is often the case is that the management places a recycling Dumpster somewhere on the property, but does not tell their residents that it is there. Nor do they provide a way to take the recycling to the dumpster, which has been proven to help boost recycling. The more convenient the ability to recycle is for residents, the more likely they are to participate. This is just one of many prime examples where the environment has been pushed by the wayside in order to make way for big business. It is unfortunate that there is a lack of morality when it comes to corporate America.
Fortunately, my classmates and I in UGA’s Environmental Communication class want to make a difference. We have created a petition to enforce the use and distribution of individual recycling receptacles in off-campus housing. Also, our goal is to make people in Athens aware that they are entitled to recycling by law.
There is hope for those who feel they have nowhere else to turn when it comes to recycling. We believe this will be a solution to the problem that the local government is already working to fix. If the consumer demands change, the economy will supply options. Our hope is not to make enemies with these businesses but work with them to help make Athens-Clarke County a beautiful and responsible place to live.
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