STAFF EDITORIAL: Prioritize recycling on and off campus

Good habits start at home. While we’re living on our own in dorm rooms and apartments, Marquette is our home and we need to make recycling a priority — especially as Earth Month comes to a close.

It’s the responsibility of landlords and Marquette administrators to make sure recyling is explained and available.

Each year, Marquette publishes a tenant guide to provide helpful information, enabling a student to “be a smart renter.”

Given the university’s pledge of sustainability and goal of achieving a 30 percent recycling rate, you would think the guide would include some information regarding recycling. However, recycling is only mentioned once in the guide’s 110 pages.

The guide should include information on recycling services associated with both Marquette-owned and off-campus apartments, particularly in its “things to look for” list, given that recycling is required by law and city ordinance.

Though off-campus apartments are not Marquette-sponsored, they should maintain the environmental initiatives adopted on campus.

In 2008, Marquette formed the Sustainability Task Force to create a more environmentally friendly campus. Among the task force’s priorities is recycling. The task force hopes to increase the campus’ rate of recycling from 22.7 percent to 30 percent by July 2011.

Progress will be updated monthly on the group’s Web site. Continued progress like that made by the task force is also necessary off campus.

Providing recycling receptacles and informing tenants of the receptacles’ availability is the responsibility of the landlord as required by law.

Some apartment buildings surrounding campus have outdoor recycling receptacles that are generally emptied on a weekly basis.

However, recycling habits are lacking regardless. The location and recycling procedures may be indicated at the time tenants sign leases. After that point though, recycling is rarely mentioned.

The only place the Tribune spoke with that seemed to comply with sustainable recommendations was St. James Court.

The building adheres to the Milwaukee Department of Public Works’ recommendation that landlords properly label recycling containers and educate tenants on an efficient recycling program.

Over the past few years, Marquette has started to emphasize the importance of sustainability.

We are undoubtedly making progress in creating a greener campus, but improvements are still needed.

Landlords and apartment managers need to increase tenant awareness and accessibility to recycling facilities.

Even if available, receptacles will not be used sufficiently if nobody knows their locations or if they are not easily accessible.

Recycling is available whether you live on or off campus. Happy Earth Month, and always remember the three Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle!