Dear 100 Hour Board,
My friend told me today (as I was recycling a water bottle), that her friend told her that the recycling bins on campus do not actually get recycled. They just throw the recycled trash in with all the other trash on campus. Is this true?
-A concerned Wildlife Conservation major
Dear legit concerns,
Upon first reading your question I thought this sounded like total bunk. Why would BYU bother to buy recyling bins if they didn't recycle? Why would there be huge recycling bins right outside the building where I work if they threw all the trash together anyway? It just seems like a lot of effort to be dishonest. But then D.A.R.E. sent me a couple of links that seem to back up your friend; these are questions #23008 and #13412. The conclusions there seem to be that BYU does recycle, but if there are more materials to be recycled than room in the recycling bin, then the recyclable materials are just thrown away like everything else.
So, like I said, this all sounded unreal to me. Why would this be happening? So I hastily called BYU Recycling and talked with one of the men in charge of the whole program. He told me that this is a huge rumor. BYU does recycle. In fact, BYU recycles 100 tons of paper every month. Not only that, but BYU saves a lot of money through the recycling program. Another point he brought up, just to further debunk this myth, is that BYU stands for a lot of things, one of them being honesty. This institution has no reason to lie and make a huge show of "recycling," then not follow through. As a Church-sponsored school, if they were in fact not recycling then it would taint everything the school stands for. Not to say BYU is a perfect institution, but to lie about recycling on such a large scale is ridiculous.
That being said, I will concede one point. I have no doubt that there are people along the way, not in the recycling program itself, who may not recycle when they are supposed to. Maybe the bin was full and they were tired, and they just decided to throw it in with the other trash. But this couldn't possibly be an everyday occurrence. Logically speaking, if the recycling bin was full, couldn't they just wait a day until it was emptied again rather than risk getting in trouble for not following through with the recycling? So, tell your friend this is just a rumor. While it is possible that not every single item recycled is recycled, the great majority of these things are recycled. If you want to talk with BYU Recycling yourself they are really nice, and their number is (801) 422-4662.
-Mico, debunking myths again
I have personally seen BYU's recycling facilities, full of cardboard and plastic bottles, and those things are most definitely not just thrown away with the rest of the trash. At least not all of it. There's some anecdotal evidence for you anyway. If you want, take your friend and check it out for yourself.
I can vouch for the recycling program's verity... for behold, I have been there. And I have witnessed the wonders which abound there. This is my tale...
I first met my tour guide, Frank Running Bear, at the gate. Frank blindfolded me, kicked me behind the knee, and while I was doubled up on the ground, confiscated my camera. He told me in an angry voice that we were not to be seen, and that the camera flashes would attract... unwanted attention. The next thing I knew, six pairs of rough hands picked me up and manhandled me into the back of a large truck. I regained consciousness inside the recycling plant, to the harsh words of my tour guide. "THIS," he gravely intoned "IS YOUR TOUR." He exited his truck and we began.
Our tour began with a safety briefing. He pointed me to their safety idol, a cardboard cutout of "Safety Sammy."
He impressed upon me the gravity of his job, it being the 7th most dangerous job in America. He boomed "EVERYONE GOES HOME WHOLE TODAY. ESPECIALLY YOU, DR. SMEED." His sinister laugh gave me chills as the words echoed throughout the warehouse. He led me to what appeared to be a cult assembly area.
"THIS IS WHERE WE PREPARE THE SACRIFICE TO THE GREAT BALER GODS," he said, while pointing out that recycling processes 500,000 boxes and 160,000,000 (that's millions) pages of paper each year. They bale them by color and type, something that someone who was merely going to throw them all away wouldn't bother doing. I demanded of him an audience with the "great baler gods." He obliged with a halting, "COME THIS WAY."
"THIS IS KING GRALOCK, DEVOURER AND BALER OF PAPER AND CARDBOARD." I was pretty impressed.
By this time, my captor was in a far better mood. I saw him posing upon a stack of cardboard; "KING GRALOCK DEMANDS YOU PERFORM A DANCE UPON HIS PROGENY." What could I do but dance? I performed my best Riverdance upon the stacks of white paper.
My tour guide had to take a quick pit stop, so we casually sauntered to the latrines. I took a picture of him as he emerged. "FRANK DOES NOT THINK YOU ARE FUNNY. FRANK IS NOW IN ILL HUMOUR."
Apparently Frank was Canadian too, by the way he spelled his words as he spoke. "AS PUNISHMENT, YOU SHALL VISIT MOKU-ILI-KAKU, OUR BALER GOD OF WEALTH."
It was clear this was his favorite god; he proudly stood by its gaping, green maw. "MOKU GIVES US THE MOST WEALTH. WE MAKE MORE MONEY OFF OF ALUMINIUM THAN ANYTHING ELSE. YES, ALUMINIUM IS CORRECT YOU CRAZY AMERICAN." Yep, foreigner for sure. "LET US EXAMINE MOKU'S PROGENY NOW. YOU SHALL FEEL OF OUR GREAT WEALTH. HEFT 20 DOLLARS' WORTH, IT IS THE WILL OF MOKU." He showed me:
and I hefted:
20 bucks worth of aluminum right there in my hands. Many, many more dollars' worth in the stack behind me.
All of this dancing and hefting was tuckering me out, so we went back outside. I made some more small talk that verified the 100 tons of paper recycled a month. I asked him about throwing stuff away, and he said, "IMPOSSIBLE. IF WE RUN OUT OF ROOM, WE PILE IT HIGHER AND DEEPER."
We rested for a moment on a pile of plastic bottles before he excitedly beckoned to me, "COME, COME! THERE IS MORE!" He led me to what looked like a parking lot. "THE ELDER GOD CATERPILLAR RETRIEVED HIS SACRIFICE." The smell made my host double up and retch into the pit. He collected himself and announced, "HE HAS TAKEN HIS PILE OF FOOD."
BYU even recycles food from the Cannon center and turns it into compost. "WE MAKE MANY MORE SACRIFICES TO CATERPILLAR. HE HAS TAKEN HIS WIRE AND METAL," he said, holding up a piece of an aluminum frame.
"OUR LAST, ELDEST BALER GOD CAN NOT BE SEEN WITH HUMAN CAMERAS." Whatever that means. "YOU MAY NOT TAKE YOUR CAMERA INTO THIS AREA." Yeah, whatever, my camera is out of batteri- "YOU HAD BETTER PUT DOWN YOUR CAMERA OR BETTER YET GIVE IT TO ME SO I CAN PUT IT IN MY POCKET." Didn't I say that it was out "I'M SORRY I JUST DON'T WANT THE FLASH TO BLIND COUNT PLASTICULA AND STARTLE YOU AND YOU DROP IT AND LOSE IT OR SOMETHING. I AM JUST CONCERNED FOR YOUR WELFARE." Thanks, Frank. He showed me Count Plasticula, the plastic baler, and told me that since its institution in 2008, it has crushed and baled over 2,000 bottles a week. That number more than ten-tuples during football season, when the ROTC folks collect as many as 50,000 plastic bottles per game. They do everything they can to keep this stuff, especially plastic bottles, out of the trash.
My tour was over, and I left a better man than when I arrived. Thank you, Frank.