The Award Winning News Publication of Mercy College

The Impact

The Award Winning News Publication of Mercy College

The Impact

The Award Winning News Publication of Mercy College

The Impact

OP/ED: Mercy University’s Recycling System


Every time I step into the cafeteria, I observe more than one student discarding half of their food on their plate.

I often wonder why they took so much food if they weren’t going to eat it.

Perhaps it’s a perspective shaped by where I come from, where people beg for food regularly.

Food is gold –  even when Mercy University’s main dining hall isn’t always top-notch, at least we have access to food.

I find it impressive how much waste this school produces.

I can’t help but envision the staggering scale of waste when I witness approximately six to ten people discarding most of their food. And that’s merely within 25 minutes it takes me to have a meal.

Not to mention the amount of cans and bottles I see in the trash and cardboard in the dumpster. 

The sheer volume of waste is beyond comprehension. The importance of recycling extends beyond measure. Our world is becoming increasingly contaminated, and a lack of social consciousness is apparent among students and staff.

Recycling, the process of collecting and transforming materials into new products, is vital for reducing waste and conserving resources. It’s primary purpose is to save the world that we are contaminating.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average person in the United States generates around 4.9 pounds of daily waste, encompassing residential and commercial waste. Considering that Mercy University has a total enrollment of 8,615 students, with 11 percent residing on campus, the amount of waste generated is substantial.

Mercy University’s recycling system is one of the poorest I’ve ever seen, lacking eco-friendly materials in both the Main Hall cafeteria and Victory Hall.

Witnessing a first-world country university lagging so far behind in dining and recycling modernization is disheartening.

Yes, we have separate bins, but ensuring students follow recycling rules remains challenging. Are they been disposed of properly or junked together? Proper education on recycling practices appears uncommon in the area, with a noticeable absence of seminars, talks, and educational initiatives on campus.

Many individuals need to be aware of the impact of using plastic and the lack of environmentally sustainable practices.

The amount of harm we can do to the world is immeasurable and it’s growing – health change is a growing emergency throughout the planet as thin tanks around the world are gathering to reverse the damage we have created. 

Implementing a simple recycling system with rewards incentivizing young adults could make a significant difference. Having experienced the effectiveness of a sound recycling system in Europe, the satisfaction of contributing to the world is indescribable.

I must admit I was once ignorant about recycling but came to understand the detrimental effects of plastic on the environment.

While having an eco-friendly cafeteria may increase expenses, the long-term savings and benefits can outweigh these costs.

The cost of making a dining hall eco-friendly with dishwashers and real silverware can vary, ranging from $100,00 to $500,00. Depending on factors such as the size of the hall and desired eco-friendly features. High-capacity, energy-efficient dishwashers may cost more upfront but lead to long-term savings.

It’s essential to recognize that although plastic alternatives may seem cheaper initially, the long-term benefits of eco-friendly measures are more significant.

According to a report by the World Economic Forum, global plastic production has increased exponentially, with about 380 million tons of plastic being produced annually. A significant portion of this plastic ends up in landfills, taking hundreds of years to decompose and releasing harmful substances into the soil and water.

Nearby colleges such as Skidmore College, Canisius University, Barnard College, and more have implemented a sustainable program for their dining. It is having a positive impact on their community as well.

Canisius University has a special agreement that when they have excess food, they donate it to Goodr.

Goodr is a company that offers Food Waste solutions by redistributing edible food waste and donating it to a local non-profit to meet the greatest need.

While recycling rates have been improving globally, there is still work to be done, especially at the local level. Mercy University has the potential to lead by example, demonstrating a commitment to environmental sustainability through its recycling practices.

 Implementing an effective recycling program would reduce the university’s ecological footprint and inspire positive change within the student body and the community.

Ideas like “all-you-can-eat” buffets at colleges have lowered food quality and increased waste production. As a student, I sometimes over-grab food, but the question remains: what should I do with the excess? Witnessing others mindlessly throw everything away sparks reflection.

Doesn’t it make you feel something? When I see someone throw biowaste into the plastics bin – why is it so hard to put it in the correct bin?

Is it laziness?

Are we a generation of complacency, or can we be the change the world needs?

I find myself in the United States of America, one of the most advanced countries in the world, and still, they need to catch up in recycling practices.

What we do today affects our future generations.

It’s our conscious how we decide or not to contribute.

The call for an improved recycling system at Mercy University is not just about waste reduction – it’s a call for environmental responsibility and a commitment to shaping a better future.

As members of a first-world country, responsibility and knowledge must be shared to make a positive impact. It’s time for Mercy University to become leaders and foster a sustainability and environmental consciousness culture.

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About the Contributor
Carla Gradiz
Carla Gradiz, Associate Editor
Carla Gradiz is a sophomore at Mercy University; she is an international student and majors in Journalism with a minor in Psychology. Carla comes from Honduras, Central America. She is passionate about where she comes from and focuses her writing on real issues her community faces and the issues she has to face as an international student. With much curiosity, Carla likes to explore different cultures, loves traveling to meet new people, and wants to impact the world positively. She believes writing is a powerful form of expression and a way to leave her mark. Carla writes a column titled You Can't Handle It,  in which she bravely shares real-life experiences, addresses critical issues, and raises awareness about topics she believes deserve more attention. She's passionate about using her writing to shed light on these issues. She can be reached at [email protected].

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