The Future of Recycling at Kent


Grace Chen, Club Writer

Each week, Kent students and faculty use tons of printing paper for good reasons. However, they do so at the cost of trees and other resources utilized during paper production. As such, whenever I walk around the campus seeing the paper waste we produce, I can’t help but feel concerned. Surely, I’m not the only one who feels this way. As a member of the Kent community, I hope to find a solution to this problem by enhancing our existing recycling program. The first step I took was to bring this issue to Mrs. Sokolnicki, Director of Community Service, and Mr. Klingebiel, AS Environmental Science teacher. 

In Connecticut, the recycling program is set up as “single-stream recycling.” Put in simple words, all our recyclables go into a single type of bins to be sorted out at recycling facilities. This program makes it rather convenient for people to dispose of their waste without the necessity of sorting. Unfortunately, such an approach to recycling creates a secondary issue: as we mix all types of waste such as cans, paper, and glass, recycling efficiency and output are significantly reduced. For instance, the liquid residue left in the cans in a recycling bin can soak up the waste paper around it, often rendering the latter non-recyclable.

After brainstorming ways to address this recycling issue on campus, Mrs. Sokolnicki, Mr. Klingebiel, and I came up with the following proposal: instead of throwing used printing paper into single-stream recycling bins, we should use them to create notepads. To do so, the school can place bins earmarked for such paper around dorms, classrooms, and printers. Once collected, the paper will be sanitized by UV light and assembled into notepads which are made free for reusing.

Not only is the system easy to set up, but it is also a meaningful stepping stone into the future of recycling at Kent. After all, we members of the Kent community have a responsibility to recycle and protect our environment.