Club of the Week: Eco-Reps

April Federico, Features Editor

Climate change is a very serious issue that is more important now than ever. Everything that the Eco-Reps club do is in response to this epidemic. 

The biggest on-campus “crisis” right now that the Eco-Reps are responding to is the construction near Bayside. 

According to Scott Yonan, the club’s advisor, “the 96-gallon bins that are used for recyclables — some of them were relocated. People were using them as trash cans, so all of the cans and bottles were getting contaminated by non-cans and bottles. So, I guess they’ve been moved back into place now, but they’re still getting contaminated by people who are now used to using them for trash, and even for people who are well-intentioned, and they have a bag full of bottles and cans, they throw the bag into that big bin that the plastic bag they’re in contaminates the whole batch.”

This means that the cans and bottles are supposed to be in the recycling bins, and the plastic bags are meant to go in the trash. 

“What that means is all of the toters over by Bayside are getting contaminated – nothing’s being recycled. I’ve been in touch with the CORE, and the CORE is going to talk with the RAs, who will then talk to the residents of Bayside, and Eco-Reps are involved with it, and if we have to, we’re going to go door-to-door to talk to some residents of Bayside to let them know that even though they’re trying to recycle that plastic bag, it goes into the recycling bin and [makes] it so we can’t recycle,” Yonan continued.

Senior Carly Quinn, co-president of the Eco-Reps, added, “We’re trying to get permanent signage or send an email out and put up flyers until people realize how big of an issue it is.”

Recycling seems to be an issue across the board on all college campuses. 

Aside from trying to do their part to help the environment, the Eco-Reps have other projects going on simultaneously. 

“Composting is a new big thing that we started,” Quinn said. “It’s behind New Res and behind the three Baysides. It started up last year — it’s been pretty successful so far. We just did an event with CEN. They did pumpkin carving, so we went to the event to advertise the Eco-Reps, and then we collected all the pumpkin scraps and composted all of them. We’re just trying to build it up right now so that everyone knows.  A lot of people are not even sure that it exists.”

The Eco-Reps sent out an email to residents of Bayside and New Res asking if people wanted their own composting buckets. There are a total of four composting sites on campus, and they are perfect for people who have kitchens. If any students are interested in having their own composting bin, they are encouraged to contact Scott Yonan.

In regards to the issue of climate change, Yonan said, “Even if you’re a person who doesn’t think climate change is real, it still doesn’t hurt to do the things that the Eco-Reps are doing, because you’ll save money in the long-run.” 

One of the Eco-Reps’ pieces of advice is to stop buying cases of plastic water bottles. There are hydration stations around campus, and Yonan has reusable water bottles for every student on campus. It’s a good way to save money and prevent water bottles from going into the environment, he said.

“As a club, we’re more sustainability-minded, rather than tackling these climate change issues because that’s really hard to do on a campus if not everyone believes in it,” Quinn said. “So, we’re trying to do these little things to help people kind of change their mindset and look towards being more sustainable-minded.”

Along with limiting plastic bottle usage, the Eco-Reps are trying to get rid of plastic bags and make people more aware of the amount of electricity we use. 

“We have a lot of cool lamps that we’re trying to figure out what to do with,” Quinn said.

Put simply, the little things you can do that don’t require a lot of effort make a big difference in the long wrong. For example, while brushing your teeth, don’t let the water run. Even if you make your shower a few minutes shorter than usual, that too makes a difference.

Expect the Eco-Reps to put on Earth Fest this coming Earth Day, where they will help other members of the campus community to live more environmentally friendly lifestyles. 

“You don’t have to be a tree hugger to do the right thing,” Yonan said.