Plastic fantastic?


I’m sure we all know a keen recycler, the kind that follows you around the kitchen sniffing out the plastic and the cardboard ready to judge you if you don’t contemplate the environmental costs of misplacing a milk carton. Now take this recycler from the safety of their home and place them in a lawless domestic space, the student kitchen, and they’re suddenly faced with a tense battle for their green credentials.

From the occasional eye roll to the huff over your shoulder as you butter your toast, there seems to be no escape when you’re faced with a flatmate who’s paranoid with plastic disposal. With three boxes, one recycler and a kitchen full of frustrated flatmates, how long can the friendships forged on the back of the bus in fresher’s week continue? When will recycling rotas and overflowing green bins begin to shatter the domestic bliss of campus living?

Recycling at home can be a catalyst for many a silent treatment, with parents hounding the careless student for a wayward placement of a beans tin. But when away from home, how long can the recycler keep on tutting before someone catches on and notices the cardboard based catastrophe waiting to happen? Do you go all out and cut the plastic out of envelopes to please their paranoia or do you quietly do your bit and hope that they’ll never be bored of the bin duties?

As the wrath of the recycler begins to build in and around the kitchen, mealtimes can become a battle ground, a nervous occasion filled with dread as someone produces an empty bottle but there’s no space in the boxes to dispose of it correctly. Yes, we’ve all been there and experienced the guilt surrounding the presence of the one flatmate who always takes out the sorted rubbish, the one that’s an angel to the cleaners and a devil to the friend who fails to recognise the recyclable qualities of a yoghurt pot. However, as much as I may exaggerate the role of the recycler as an eye rolling tin sifter, in reality we should all be taking tips to act this way, doing our part on and off campus to put those empty pizza boxes to better use.

As a third year who has experienced the plaguing horror of Sunday night wheelie bin sessions, rolling rubbish back and forth up the cobbled back streets of a little terrace in town; I can safely say that the boxes in your campus kitchen will be the most painless route to greener living.

For the harmonious kitchens who revel in the sifting and sorting of foodstuffs I applaud you for your camaraderie and your selfless environment enthusiasm. However the reality for most people living on campus is that those boxes are the 9.00am seminars of the kitchen world; everyone acknowledges they exist but nobody really wants to wake up and deal with them.

Yes the avid recycler can seem a little extreme, but they’re trying their best to save mankind cereal box by cereal box and we should be trying in a small way to do the same. So go on and brave it; get those boxes if you haven’t already and start living the green dream. Trust me, there’s an odd sense of satisfaction in throwing your milk bottle from one side of the kitchen to the other to slam dunk it in its basket. But make sure it’s empty first or that’s a whole other argument waiting to happen.

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