The Present State of Recycling
The Present State of Recycling
  • Reporter Jung Han-kyu
  • 승인 2011.04.13 00:51
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Requires participation from everyone

POSTECH boasts 500,000 pyong (410 acres) of school grounds. Because of its vast area, POSTECH allocates a large portion of its budget to campus beautification, especially to waste management. POSTECH particularly produces extra loads of trash despite its relatively small student body because almost all of its students live in the dormitory. In fact, in 2010 POSTECH threw out about 716 tons of trash. This is equivalent to 1,143 garbage trucks.

How is this garbage being thrown away, then? Currently, recycling bins are installed at various locations around the campus: every floor of the RC and the first floor in other buildings. In school buildings and dormitories, the janitors help with recycling garbage, and the residential council is in charge of recycling in the professor apartment complex. The next question is the effectiveness of recycling as a whole.

▲ Types of wastes POSTECH produces. Industrial and Designated wastes are recyclable.

If we just take a look at the numbers, POSTECH hardly recycles its garbage. POSETCH recycles about 7% of its total garbage as opposed to 81% in the whole nation. However, these numbers are very deceiving because of the different compositions of trash. According to the 2009 report of the National Statistics Office, Korea has produced recyclable waste that account for about 86%, which is 110 million tons out of a total of 130 million tons of garbage. On the other hand, POSTECH merely produces 32% of recyclable waste. The rest is non-recyclable daily life waste such as leftover food from the dormitory.

It costs quite a fortune to take care of this mountain of trash. Every year, POSTECH spends about 2 billion KRW solely on campus cleaning. This means it costs 420,000 KRW per person. Its effort has started to yield some results in a decrease in total yearly waste. In 2010, the total waste decreased by 10% from that of 2009. The Health, Safety and Security Management Team (HSSMT) expects that the number to decrease by 15% again in 2011. The team seeks to achieve this by starting a simple three rule campaign. Basically, it is recommending to produce the least amount of trash as possible, then to recycle as much as possible, and finally to find the most environment-friendly method to take care of the waste.

▲ Recycling bin around the campus. It says general, bottle & plastic, cans read from left to right.

This awareness is very important because many Postechians still do not throw away trash according to their categories. Janitors do try to separate them while collecting trash bags, but they can only do so much. Everyone has to take part in this. Also, installing recycling bins in more locations could be done by the university to promote recycling. So next time you see them working, at least say thanks because, as Team Manager of the HSSMT Yaung Young Sun said, “The school can run in absence of President Sunggi Baik for a few days, but not without the janitors.”