According to Korea Environment & Resources Corporation, prices of reusing wasted resources like paper have increased significantly to 52 percent from 2003 to 2007. However, the rate of recycling has increased at a steady rate of 9.1 percent. Likewise, within the Ewha campus, it is not hard to see un-recycled trash cans loaded with waste. Adding on to the low recycling rate of
A total of 371 trash cans are allocated around the Ewha campus. And about 186 janitors are in charged of emptying those trash cans, disposing two tons of cans, eight to 10 tons of paper, and 18 tons of plastic every month.
However, a janitor who is in charge of cleaning up the Student Union Building complains, “Students don’t recycle well. They throw cans away with the content inside. It gets on our clothes but also makes the place smell really bad.” However, many of those who do throw away the content, tends to dispose it in the toilet. “Students just pour soups and noodles inside the toilet, but they really should empty it at designated places not toilets,” she added.
Many students are aware of that the recycling problem in Ewha is an urgent matter which needs to be solved. “People just throw away anything to the bin. I guess the lack of civil responsibility is one of the causes of this problem,” said Kim Hye-won (Visual Communication Design, 4). Also, Park Kyung-ae (Special Education, 4) said, “People do not recycle because the dust bins are already mixed up and filled with any waste most of the time. Also, they are not categorized enough, so people struggle where to put what.” Moreover, students throw away cans and bottles with its content because emptying them is more time-consuming. “It will be better to have more buckets right next to trash cans where we can immediately pour drinks and empty the bottle,” said Chun Seung-ju (Journalism, 4).
In addition, students find the design of the trash can as a hindrance to recycling. “Trash cans used in Ewha are shielded that no one knows what is inside, so people dispose anything,” said Kim Hye-won. “The words written on the trash cans to distinguish allowed items are not big enough to alert students to recycle. Maybe bigger letters might make recycling more effective,” said Park.
To improve the situation, two teams from the Social Action Project of the Leadership Training II ran campaigns in 2006 and 2007. The first team installed a bucket on four trash cans in the
The second team located boxes only to put paper in the
In case of other universities,
To improve recycling within Ewha, both team members suggest to increase student awareness. “More education should be provided to students so that they can realize the need of recycling,” said Kim Tae-yeon. “Campaigns should be done more widely. Even putting an empty A4 box on the trash can help students to practice throwing away papers and cans separately,” said Kim Hwi-Kyoung.