If individuals control the majority of carbon emissions at Penn State through leaving lights and appliances on when not being used, then practicing
sustainable living does not need to be inconvenient.
Housing and Food Services have done a good job placing
recycling containers in dorms and dining commons, but still much of our
packaging and containers go to waste. Furthermore, recycling efforts on campus
considerably outweigh those made by individuals downtown and across State
College. In Germany, citizens are required by law to sort and dispose of their
recyclables, and are subject to heavy fines for failure to comply. Although it
seems a little Orwellian to think that government employees may be sifting
through your garbage, it is certainly effective.
As a University we can still do more to encourage recycling.
Incentives like giveaways for recycling “x” number of plastic bottles, and
increasing HFS’s line of recyclable materials in the commons will go a long way
for boosting our already stellar eco-record
To confront the issue of lights being left on, many institutions
are now using light and motion sensing technologies that gauge the level of
light already in the room (useful for frequented areas such as the commons), or
that detect how long it’s been since the last movement in the room (good for
dorm rooms), and regulate the light accordingly.
Neither of these measures should be an inconvenience to
students, and they both have the potential to increase our sustainability
beyond our already progressive levels.