Leading a project with a goal of making the university go zero waste by 2025 is Ayodeji Oluwalana, Iowa State recycling and special events coordinator.
According to Oluwalana, 735 tons out of 4,000 tons of trash could be recycled in the fiscal year of 2019.
Iowa State has poured close to $300,000 into waste management on campus, with only a margin of the waste available to be recycled, and it is important for students to focus on promoting and pushing to redirect money, Oluwalana said.
The sustainability plan focuses on reducing waste generation on campus to ten percent by the fiscal year, focusing on technological advances to improve energy recovery from waste and education.
“We continue to strive to review the program, make sure we are on track, and part of what we have been doing right now is in conjunction with the office of sustainability and we just developed a university sustainability plan,” Oluwalana said.
“This speaks volumes in terms of students how this impacts them a lot to recycle more. If they recycle more, and direct as much as possible, we won’t be spending this huge amount of money."
Mya Parochelli, a freshman in pre-business, said she could see money going toward different areas if students were to make simple changes in order to focus on recycling.
“If we are spending that money on something that is so simple, we could easily educate ourselves and combat the problem,” Parochelli said.
Oluwalana and his team guest lecture in design and environmental science classes as well as speak to Student Government and other organizations on campus.
“One of our goals for recycling is to develop education and awareness programs to promote waste production,” Oluwalana said.
Arianna Strobl, a freshman in animal science, said she is now seeing the impact of constant plastic water bottle usage, along with other recyclable and non recyclable items.
“Where I am from I didn’t grow up on recycling but ISU changed my point of view by providing necessities to make me contribute to recycling,'' Strobl said.
Addison Gnos, a freshman in biology, also said she was impacted by Iowa State’s changes.
“I like Iowa State’s recycling plans because they have progressive ideas that can help improve our recycling habits,” Gnos said.
Oluwalana said the other ways his team have been working to promote these ideals is by being active on American Recycling Day by organizing an event at the Memorial Union and making sure waste produced on campus goes to the right place.
Students and staff can be involved in this effort by finding more resourceful ways to pass down old textbooks, using the recycling bins on campus and volunteering for the zero waste team on campus.
Oluwalana said the zero waste group will host and help out at events and help in many areas of this movement.
“This group will be the eagle eye on campus to make sure that we are doing the right thing and encouraging their colleagues to do the right thing,” Oluwalana said.
For more information on how to be a part of this zero waste movement, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.