BYU students create petition to get recycling in off-campus housing

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Taylor Meadows and Jamir Lopez never expected they would find someone with a common goal when they both individually started their own crusades to get recycling into off-campus housing.

Meadows, a freshman studying environmental science, became a member of EcoResponse, a club with the purpose of increasing awareness of environmental issues on BYU campus. It was through this club that he became aware of a gap with recycling in Provo, specifically in BYU’s off-campus housing facilities.

“I feel that it’s important that we are as industrious as we can be and reuse what we can,” Meadows said. “One way to do that is by recycling.”

BYU’s Ecoresponse Club

Lopez had the same idea, but one he tried to put into action a few years ago. He started a recycling company where he would pick up recycling from students. He did what he could to serve others but understood he would graduate at some point and leave. He wanted to find a way to make recycling an option for everyone.

While the original purpose of the company was to pick up recycling, it is now focused on the joint effort of Meadows and Lopez to create awareness of the need to recycle while conducting a survey to evaluate the interest of students who live in off-campus housing.

“I think it’s the inevitable future,” Lopez said. “Everyone will be recycling and living green. I think that it will happen and that it should happen.”

After talking to public officials about why recycling was not available for off-campus housing, they found out the major reason was they hadn’t seen any interest from students.

Their purpose then changed to gaining support for their cause. They currently have over 700 signatures for their petition, which started in October 2012. While the city has not given them a certain number of signatures to reach they hope to gain several thousand signatures from students.

Meadows and Lopez aren’t the only students who feel that recycling is important. Makena Peacock, a junior studying recreation management, lives in Monticello Apartments where there is no recycling, so she has had to be creative with where she takes her recyclable materials.

“My sophomore year we’d take it to Heritage, but then the construction started so we stopped because we didn’t know where we could take our stuff,” Peacock said.

She believes more students would do it if they had easier access to recycling.

Sarah Karlinsey, a junior studying biology who supports the petition, thinks people have a responsibility to the earth.

“I just think that, especially as Latter-day Saints, we have a stewardship and responsibility to protect the earth, and recycling is one way we can show respect for that creation,” Karlinsey said.

Eric Proctor, a sophomore studying business, also believes there is a responsibility each person has to the earth.

“It’s kind of our responsibility. If we are using up the earth’s resources and have the opportunity to reuse them, we should do that,” Proctor said.

While there are many who may see the importance of recycling, Hannah Tull, a junior from Boise, Idaho, said access to recycling is key to getting more people to recycle.

“If it’s there then I’ll do it, but I’m not going to go out of my way to recycle,” Tull said.

This is what Meadows and Lopez are trying to address with their petition. They hope that through the petition they will be able to create awareness of the importance of recycling and someday bring recycling to students in off-campus housing.

“Maybe a couple guys can’t do much, but it’s a joint effort,” Lopez said. “We just want to get the word out so that people know where to find us.”

To get involved in earth stewardship,

1. Sign Ecoresponses’¬†petition.

2. Check out LDS Earth Stewardship, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing service opportunities for those interested in protecting the environment.

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