Letter to the Editor: It’s time to look for a long-term recycling solution at the U

Editor:

I am writing in response to Tyler Peterson’s April 21 article, “All about money: funds lacking for recycling.”

“We could make recycling pay. We just have to make it a priority,” Micah Jeppsen said. This statement alone is telling of our society and government. Jeppsen said this after he was told by experts who had looked over a feasibility study for implementing a recycling program here at the U that such a program would be too expensive to implement.

I want to know what class politicians take that gives them this particular insight-that while we spend $30,000 a year to recycle 10 percent of our waste and by spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to increase this program to 90 percent, we will make money off of it and not have to worry about costs down the road. Currently glass, steel and aluminum are a few of the products that can be recycled for a profit. The rest of the recycling programs that are spread across the country are subsidized by taxes. Without this money, these programs would go belly-up. If Jeppsen thinks that by implementing a further-reaching recycling program on campus it will pay for itself, he is wrong! There will either have to be an increase in funding from the state Legislature or an increase in tuition.

This seems to be the problem with government, be it student, state or federal. If a poll says that the people feel there is a problem, then government is more then willing to throw money at it now to get the popularity and let others worry about the money drain later. Our government sits on a multi-trillion dollar deficit because of this mentality. The money could be used for a much better end, setting up long-range fixes rather then these short sighted quickies.

Why not create a research facility that could study ways to create a low-cost recycling program for the more expensive material, such as paper and plastics? This would benefit the U in multiple ways. By creating a facility like this, all that trash that Jeppsen is worried about would be needed for the project. It would also increase educational opportunities for students at the U, with an increase in undergraduate and graduate-level research projects. Finally, if successful, it would create a patentable process that the U could use, as well as sell to others, increasing revenue for the school. Once government comes to understand that it is better to attempt to solve a problem for the long run rather then providing a quick fix for popular support, we will be able to start seeing a lowering of governmental overspending.

Nathan Morrill

Senior, Mechanical Engineering