Photo Courtesy: Leslie Pizzagalli

By: Leslie Pizzagalli

The three R’s of recycling are typically introduced to us at an early age: reduce, reuse, and recycle. Yet, what about three more that might help the way Connecticut residents look at recycling: revive, renew, and rebuild.

“Saving the environment” may seem like a tall order, but it’s actually quite simple. With pollution at an all time high in 2019, any steps taken to help preserve our Earth and 


environment are positive and progressive for our planet. When recyclables are organized and sectioned using proper methods, those materials are saved from landfills. This allows the Earth to be rid of excess waste, as well as allowing for plastics, paper, metals, and other objects to be restored and reconstructed into something new. If we reduce the garbage that fills out landfills, we are promoting and contributing to less pollution in our air, as well as our water.

We’ve all caught a glimpse of Western Connecticut State University’s campus garbage bins filled to the brim with plastic coffee cups and food containers. Don’t think a small contribution on a college campus won’t make an impact on a local community.

The three R’s don’t seem to be making that much of a difference when 75% of trash that Americans throw away each week is actually recyclable. The fact of the matter is, it’s not hard–people just don’t know how to, or people think they don’t know how to. Some just need to be reminded of how straightforward separating recyclables from trash really is. It is crucial to be mindful of what type of items you put into which bins. There is a possibility that contamination can occur, canceling the recycling process–for example: the erupting trash volcanos you keep seeing around campus.

Most Americans are creatures of habit and we toss our trash out when we’re done with it. If members of communities are helping to participate in recycling, the likelihood of helping preserve the environment is much greater.

Many community recycling bins have directions printed on them directly, including the ones you see throughout the hallways of White Hall. If not, it is almost effortless to use your resources and research what items can and cannot be recycled.

This might have you asking… where do I even begin? The answer is closer than you think: start locally! For instance, the Internet is your biggest and most helpful resource in order to discover how to be an active and accurate recycler. If we are looking specifically at Danbury, Conn., RecycleCT ( can help. With a slogan as easy as, “Know Before You Throw,” you can look up your household or dorm room items without difficulty, and make the right choices when ridding of materials. Simply type what items you are unsure about, and RecycleCT gives specific directions as to disposing of certain materials in Connecticut.

As far as recycling concerns go on campus at WCSU, there are three-compartment recycling bins on campus that allow the opportunity to separate plastic and bottles, paper, and waste. If you live on campus, or in an area without access to curbside recycling options, there are plenty of centers in that state that allow you to drop off items. If there is any doubt as to what is accepted, contact these centers directly before bringing your materials to one of their locations. The Yellow Pages has additional information on locations that allow for both waste disposal and recycle drop-off.



For potentially hazardous or materials, or general questions about recycling, safety, and campus protocol, the Environmental Health and Safety branch takes care of all your concerns. “We support all educational activities, in the classroom, the laboratory and the studio, while minimizing our environmental impact,” said EHS Director and Coordinator, Pano Koukopoulos, on WCSU’s website regarding the EHS Department;he can be contacted about general comments or concerns at ( EHS regularly maintains recycling materials on campus, as well as helping educate and inform throughout WCSU.

A busy schedule is understandable, but there are undemanding and simple ways to contribute as a WCSU student who lives on or off campus.

  • Keep a bag for recyclables and trash in your car if you commute–this helps make for an easy disposal once you fill them
  • Buy items that are made out of recycled material already.
  • Donate any school supplies you have not used to other students, or to facilities that take them to recycle
  • Reusable shopping bags help the environment far more than plastic–consider this next time you go grocery shopping
  • Pack your lunch or coffee in a reusable container to help reduce plastic cup use


Expanding your recycling abilities and educating yourself on the process are both baby steps leading to helping conserve the environment. Being wasteful is distasteful. What’s your excuse? Reduce and reuse!