Jiahua Wu (Jessie)

Jiahua Wu is an English 099 student, she is interested in the studying of environment, so there is an essay about her observation and conclusion in Columbia College this semester.

5 August 2016

Reducing Waste is Necessary

Do you think the amount of waste in our school still increasing? Is it a serious problem? Absolutely, the students and all the staffs in Columbia College should pay attention to the waste. When we walk around our school, we can see there are sorts of bins for us to throw the waste in. Sometimes we can also observe that people just leave their used paper, pencils and even newspapers on the desk or chair but do not sort them in the right bin. It is so disappointed for us to look at such unethical behavior. However, while there are some effective strategies the Columbia College community does to reduce waste, it has to work on reducing paper, coffee cup, and food waste more.

By observing and asking the staff in our school, we are aware of the things that Columbia College has done to protect the environment. There are two things I think Columbia College does well to solve this problem. Firstly, staff in our school set up the Clean Club and put different kinds of bins for the waste in every floor. It is really a good way to encourage students to sort waste. The clean club held some activities to pick up the waste around our school which beautified our school. Unfortunately, they closed this club this semester. However, it can be reopened and students are encouraged to join in. Secondly, Columbia College has protected the environment by improving the use and disposal of second hand books. There are many second hand books for us to borrow and buy. In the library, many students will borrow the book, which is second hand from reception to review. The school tries to recycle second hand books and plays a good role for students by offering them for textbooks to use. Also, students who want to buy books are willing to borrow them from the library, because it is unnecessary for them to pay money. The school website for reselling textbooks allows students to sell their used books to students who used them. It is an environment-friendly way to reduce the waste of paper. Outside the bookstore, we can find a post about the sale of second hand books through the website in an effect to remind the students. However, although Columbia College has some measures to reduce waste, it is not enough.

Obviously, the amount of coffee cup waste in the college is still in an increasing trend. We should take a responsibility to reduce the coffee cup waste in Columbia College. In my opinion, there are some measures we can use to help Columbia College reduce its coffee cup waste. Firstly, we can post news around the school to show the serious environmental problems and how careless we are with our environment. In his article “The Enemy in the Mirror,” Brian Green states that “Motivated by greed and enabled by indolence, we are wrecking our environment with ruthless efficiency” (259). Only if we know how the serious problem is, we will be more conscious of it and think about the approach to solve it; for example, by taking action to reduce coffee cups and caring about the environment around us. Additionally, due to the difficulty in recycling coffee cups, we should try our best to use our own reusable cups instead of disposable ones. The article “Coffee Cups Among Many Items You Actually Can’t Recycle, City Says” shows that “…because those paper cups are lined with plastic or wax they can’t be recycled” (Coffee Cups). We can know that actually people are confused about whether the coffee cups can be recycled or not. Some say yes some say no, and it is very hard to know the correct answer. It is difficult to identify the different coffee cups. Therefore, the best way to prevent this condition is to use our reusable cups. Even you can buy a coffee machine and just drink it at home which will both save money and protect our environment. After all, we must reduce coffee cup waste and pay attention to the environment around us. Also, it is important for us to remind our friends and try to make our lives environmentally friendly.

When it comes to the paper waste, it is a big problem especially in the school where need to use many paper. There are many facts that paper waste is serious. According to “Sprint to Switch to Wheat Straw Paper in Two-month Sustainability Trail,” Ucilia Wang indicates that “60% of the paper used by Sprint is for marketing materials, while about 35% is used for bills and notices for its 55 million customers…the remaining paper is for printers and other office use” (Wang 6). In our city, we can receive many different bills and advertisement handout from our mail box; it is so wasteful of paper and not deserves to do that. In our school, after washing our hands, we always use the paper towel to wipe our hand and also I discovered that some people do not use just one piece of paper but many pieces. In the library, when we want to print the PowerPoint, the printer has been set up to print in one side but not double side which will use many of papers. Due to these conditions, we can take some measures to solve it. Firstly, in the city, we can require to have electronic bills such as email or messages instead of the traditional paper bill. In the school, we should advise the computer operator to set up the printer can be printed in double page. Secondly, in the school washroom, we can assemble some hand dryers rather than use paper towel to dry hand. What’s more, as “Facts about Paper: The Impact of Consumption” says, “with the use of modern technology such as document management software, electronic forms creators and mobile devices, we can drastically reduce our dependence on paper” (Facts about). With the improvement of technology, it is so convenient to use the laptop. We can suggest our school teacher to let student complete homework or essays by the computer and submit them by email. Moreover, you can download your electronic textbook and just take your own laptop or iPad to the class. Finally, it is a good idea to reduce the waste by using the recycle paper.

Additionally, food waste is a key problem we should pay attention to in our school. People always order many food and taste them, but after they finish, they remain the rest of food and not take it to go. In the article “Schools Work to Reduce Cafeteria Trash,” Ben Feller points about that “students at Hammond Elementary toss away half-eaten apples, untouched sandwiches and portions of pizza slices” (Feller 2). Whenever I eat the sandwiches in the subway at the main floor of our school, I observed that some people just eaten their hamburger half and then throw the rest of it without hesitating. I’m so confused that why they do not take the rest of the hamburger to the home and eat it when they are hungry later? Why they do not just order the small one? This condition not just appears in our school but also in any restaurant around our city. We are living in a peaceful city with rich foods, so we do not know how hungry those poor people are. When we are walking around Main Street near to our school, we can see homeless people ask for any help, I think we can offer them the leftover we pack in the restaurant if we do not need it. Instead of leaving leftover in the restaurant and make it become the food waste, we can do this better. Another way to deal with the food waste is making these foods as compost. As the article “Compost” presents that “Compost offers many benefit. It is best known for providing plants with much needed nitrogen, potassium and a host of other micronutrients such as calcium and magnesium” (Compost). We can know in Vancouver, there is a fix bin for the food and leaf in every house. Also, we can see there is a bin for the food waste in each floor in our school, we can put our food waste in it, and schools can make it as fertilizer. Farms are so pleased to have this compost, because it can grow the plant or vegetable well and it contains many materials that plants need it. Nowadays, we are running out of landfill spaces, so not only compost can due with the problem of food waste, but also can make our leftover return to the earth and do the best.

In conclusion, only when we all join to help Columbia College to reduce waste, we can have a better studying environment. In order to make our school clean, we should all show the responsibility to sort waste. The energy of one person may be not enough to save the school environment, but the more positive things we do as a group, the better school will be.




Works Cited

“Coffee Cups Among Many Items You Actually Can’t Recycle, City Says.” CBCnews. CBC  Canada, 21 June 2016. Web. 26 July 2016.

“Compost.” Compost. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 July 2016.

“Facts about Paper: The Impact of Consumption.” The Paperless Project RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 July 2016.

Feller, Ben. “Schools Work to Reduce Cafeteria Trash.” Waste-free Lunches. Associated Press, 12 May 2005. Web. 26 July 2016.

Green, Brain. “The Enemy in the Mirror.” Essay Essentials and Reading. 5th Ed. Eds. Sarah Norton and Brain, Green. Toronto: Nelson Education, 2011. 259-260. Print.

Wang, Ucilia. “Sprint to Switch to Wheat Straw Paper in Two-month Sustainability Trial.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 4 June 2015. Web. 26 July 2016.