Student Senate creates task force to combat incorrect recycling


Mohammed Islam

President of Sustainability Task Force Nicole Ruhland(right), a Biology and Spanish major senior, discusses plans for Earth Day 2020 with members of her task force, Abigail Oldenburg(left) and Madilyn Lavan(middle) at Student Senate office on Monday, Feb. 24. The goal of this task force is to help educate students on what can and cannot be recycled.

Kalli O'Brien, News Reporter

A sustainability task force has been created by Winona State University’s Student Senate in order to combat incorrect recycling done by students.

According to the university, 50% of the items placed in recycling bins all around campus are items that cannot be recycled.

The Sustainability Task Force is being put into action by senior, Nicole Ruhland. According to her, the goal of this task force is to help educate students on what can and cannot be recycled. The task force’s first goal is to place posters in Kryzsko Commons above every recycling bin with information on what can and cannot be recycled.

“To do this, we are going to create posters with examples of specific items unique to Zane’s on what bin everything goes in. For example, there are lots of plastic items that can be recycled in Zane’s, but only if there are not a lot of food waste in them,” Ruhland said.

The importance of sorting garbage and recyclable items correctly means the difference of items going to the right place to be recycled, or to the landfill with the rest of the garbage. However, many students are failing to take the time to sort their garbage correctly.

According to Ruhland, living more sustainably is easier than one might think.

Become more educated on what can and cannot be recycled at your own homes and lives. Reducing food waste is also a huge way to help the environment. Taking only what you need in the dining hall or trying to eat all the food you buy really eliminates a lot of the waste we have,” Ruhland said.

Campus sustainability director, Nathan Engstrom, described how the task force hopes to work to build a more sustainable campus.

“The sustainability committee’s charge is to serve as an advisory body, providing university-wide support and resources for building a strong culture of sustainability at WSU.” Engstrom said. “Specifically, the sustainability committee coordinates the Student Green Fee project proposal and review process and makes recommendations for funding and implementation to WSU Administration.”

A few tips he had to share on how to be more sustainable yourself includes; bike, run or walk to a location instead of driving, instead of throwing things away think about how it could be reused or repurposed, grow a garden and compost your biodegradable waste.


The opinions expressed in this paper are not necessarily those of Winona State University, the Minnesota State Colleges and University system, or the Winona State University student body.