The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


The joys and benefits of recycling

Considering myself an educated and mild-mannered individual, I shy away from raising my temper or lashing out at people. Often, when put in a situation in which my blood is beginning to boil, I reminisce on the quote by Will Rogers, “People who fly into a rage always make a bad landing.”

In all of my experience, it seems that the personal attacks people make toward one another are the ones that sting the most. None of us are strangers to being labeled with a derogatory name or being the butt end of a joke. This is what can break one’s spirit or be the reason for having a bad day.

Well, I have always been different. For some explanation I seem to be unable to conjure up, the things that get me down are less personal and have more of a societal basis for their reckoning of emotion within me.

If someone called me a “douche” (which seems to be the word of choice for male-targeted derogatory kindergarten-playground name calling that occurs on campus) I would probably not flinch, blink, raise my fist, get mad or get even. Simply, I never cared about what people thought of me.

In contrast, there is something that I just can’t seem to get over: People who don’t recycle, especially when the bins are conveniently placed around campus. Why so upset? Well, perhaps it is a deep-routed love for mother earth, but more likely it is the realization that this planet is filling up with so much garbage that we cannot handle the rate at which it is increasing every year.

We live in an economic system that promotes waste and it would be unfair for someone like me to point the finger at consumers. After all, I am a consumer, too. My problem, however, is not with those things that we cannot avoid, like using gasoline or running water. It is with the small choices we make every day concerning our environment – those things we can do that don’t affect us adversely by putting them into practice. So, there is one thing I ask all SMU students and administration to do: Recycle!

Buy your Cokes from the vending machines, print that paper for class, open that can of tuna, but when you’re done using it, please drop it in the recycle bin. It is not painful, hard or even time consuming. It is something that makes our world a better place. So, instead of bombarding you with a mountain of statistics that just ultimately serve to scare you into a doomsday view of our planet, I will share some recycling tips that will have you reducing your impact on the earth in no time:

– Never use disposable cameras, buy a good, quality digital one.

– At parties, use cheap reusable cups, plates and cutlery that you can use in your dorm: not disposable ones that go straight to a landfill.

– Buy in bulk: less packaging!

– Donate your old electronics at

– Sign up for curbside recycling by calling (214) 670-4475.

– Use those bins around campus for plastic bottles, paper and cans!

For more tips and information about recycling, you can visit:

Before I end my proposal, it is also important for me to address opponents to the recycling initiative – yes, they are out there. The most common thing I hear from individuals who tell me their excuses for not recycling is that more important issues should be taken care of, e.g. poverty, world hunger, education, etc. While I agree that these are pressing issues that humanity must address, none of them are stopping us from recycling here in the U.S. It is faulty logic to say that the world state is preventing us from separating our garbage and recycling, or throwing a soda bottle into one bin instead of another.

The time is up for making excuses. Taking care of our environment is just one more thing that will make the world better for all of us. I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel pretty good to know that I am doing my part.

Anne Frank said, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” I live by these words and I hope you will, too.

Brent Lemons is a junior international relations and political science major. He can be reached for comment at blemons@smu.

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