Recycling a challenge for off-campus students

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WKU Resource Conservation invests in recycling efforts for the campus community. Across WKU, it’s hard not to notice the blue containers, cans and community bins to promote a sustainable campus. Recycling is made easy while living on campus. But when one moves off the Hill, it’s oftentimes another story.

“Western tries to support student recycling efforts in as many capacities as possible,” said Courtney Martin, WKU Resource Conservation intern. “But we are somewhat limited in what we can offer to off-campus residents.”

Apartment complexes catering to students across Bowling Green usually include utilities in their rent, but what’s not is recycling. Southern Recycling, who services Warren County residents, said they’re willing to pickup at these complexes, but have been met with resistance.

“Very few will allow that. Very few,” said John Fellonneau, president of the company. “Even the larger apartment complexes in town that don’t cater to the students don’t allow our trucks on their property.”

The property manager of the student-focused Registry at Bowling Green apartments said residents haven’t asked about having recycling pick up and wondered if they would even take advantage of it if they did.

In Warren County, curbside pickup is automatically available to single-family residencies by a $2.50 compulsory addition to their utility bill. However, multi-family residences like apartment complexes must opt in individually, and property managers must give Southern Recycling the go-head to pick it up.

“The only thing that students can do is go to your property managers or the owners of the complexes that you’re living in, and say that you want to do this,” said Fellonneau. “Nothing’s going to happen until the property owners have some pressure put on them to do it.”

Martin said that historically, recycling became so prevalent on WKU’s campus because of encouragement from its students.

“Don’t be afraid to talk to your apartment complex owner,” Martin said. “Don’t doubt your voice, don’t doubt that you can get these resources in your living community.”

For now, many off-campus students must use alternatives to live more green. For those interested, students can bring their recyclables to WKU’s community bins located behind the Service and Supply Building. Southern Recycling also offers free bins located at county-wide volunteer fire departments, along with their Bowling Green headquarters.

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