About a year ago, the A Rocha Recycling Committee was founded in order for there to be a smaller subset of A Rocha focusing specifically on recycling on campus. A Rocha is the environmentalism club. Starting this year, the goal of this committee is to make Wheaton College a more eco-friendly campus by ensuring that the school is being efficient with its waste. The committee also hopes to provide knowledge on how to recycle and why it is important.
Junior Yuxi Zhao, director of the Recycling Committee and part of A Rocha’s advisory council, explained the issues she saw around the campus and some misunderstanding and confusion the committees has observed about the concept of recycling. Zhao said that two types of recyclables exist: Paper recycling, which consists of paper products, and comingle, which consists of glass, plastic, cans and anything recyclable that is not made of paper.
The committee hopes to emphasize the importance of splitting these two types of recyclables before they hit the dumpsters. It plans to make labels where the two types can be differentiated.
Most recently, the committee members have taken it upon themselves to collect data on the inventory of recycle bins and their location and utilization in public spaces and campus buildings. It has already collected data on Armerding, McManis-Evans Hall, Fischer Hall, Smith-Traber Hall, the Meyer Science Center, the Conservatory, Jenks Hall and the Memorial Student Center. The committee is continuing with the other buildings.
Zhao said, “The target for education is the underclassmen dorms.” She added that the committee hopes to “make recycling a larger part of Res Life.” The goal is that by starting with the underclassmen dorms, the students will carry out their good recycling habits in following years.
A large way for the Wheaton Community to serve justice is to promote the idea of correct recycling, according to Zhao. Recycling is a way of preventing large implications that might not take affect immediately yet have unseen and dangerous results. Reducing waste in ways such as recycling helps with the process of creating raw materials, and it reduces the amount of waste that needs to be stored and take up space.
“There are a lot of negative effects of waste, especially if it is not disposed properly. People are affected negatively all over the world. To me recycling is just so easy, and I think by doing that, in a sense we are caring for others around the world and serving justice globally,” Zhao said
Freshman Shoshanna Hwang, a member of the committee, added, “Growing up in a very eco-friendly place, I have a hard time seeing people throw five bananas in the garbage. Either we can make a mess, or we can choose to take care of the resources that God has given us.”
The committee explained that taking care of the resources and the earth and protecting them can be simple yet important ways to serve justice for the local community and global communities all around the world.
The committee said it is excited to work together with many other groups on campus. Sophomore Henry Williams, another committee member, said, “We’re working with Student Government, Bon Appétit, Res Life and whoever else is involved with this, and it is an amazing opportunity to work in this great network.” Additionally, students can join the Recycling Committee regardless of whether or not they have already been a part of A Rocha as a whole.
Regarding justice at Wheaton, Williams concluded, “We’ve become a school that has become greatly focused with the idea of justice, racial reconciliation outside of the school. I think it’s truly important that we do justice here on campus.”