Just trash it

Guest blogger - Hannah

Last week I got to class a few minutes early and saw some “trash” on the desk where I normally sit. As I approached my seat I heard my professor say, “Sorry the class before left you a mess, just trash it.”

As I tossed the empty soda bottled into my purse (to recycle later of course!) I thought how important our choice of language is. My professor’s language opted for the convenience and tradition of throwing something in the trash, instead of actively choosing language that promotes recycling.
Phrases like trash it, throw it away, and toss it lend us to think of throwing an item in a trashcan. What if we used phrases like recycle it or bin it instead? Would incorporating these phrases into our everyday language encourage our friends, families, peers to keep recycling in mind all the time, not just when there is a blue bin in sight?

After my trash it experience in class I began to reflect on the idea of trashcans and recycle bins in general. We have several convenient locations to recycle on campus. Bins are located throughout the buildings for your can, bottles and paper. The problem is there are trashcans in every classroom, bathroom, office and hallway. People don’t have to think about throwing things away- it’s almost too easy not to. It caused me to question what language my professor would have chosen if there were a recycle bin in the classroom, not just a trashcan.

So what can we do?
I’d love to see recycle bins and trashcans come in pairs in the future- always giving people an opportunity to recycle. For now, what we can do is step up to the plate and take the little extra effort to make sure our bottles, cans and paper get to a recycle bin and don’t end up in the trash. We can also try to make sure our language reflects our views on recycling. No more toss it and trash it-lets make sure people are reminded to recycle! (It’s also a great opportunity to explain what can and can’t be recycled!) Lastly, we can encourage our friends, families and peers to do the same!

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