Student Government pushes battery recycling program

Truman State University Student Government has proposed a battery recycling program for campus and taken steps toward making the project a reality.

In past years, the Office of Sustainability worked with Student Government to recycle batteries every semester by organizing battery collection drives. Sophomore voting senator Jared Kolok said that previous efforts had been stifled by their infeasibility. Students did not save batteries because of the low frequency of drives and lack of awareness surrounding the events. To address this problem, a permanent installation will be created in the Student Union Building to increase accessibility.

This initiative is a collective effort by Student Government and the Office of Sustainability. Graduate student Becca Elder, Sustainability Outreach Coordinator, said the office works closely with students to educate them about sustainability issues and promote communication between student organizations.

The office has many recycling options available for students from battery recycling to rentable compost bins, but Elder said having a battery recycling bin would greatly assist sustainability efforts on campus. The bin itself is made of PVC pipe, which is inherently fire resistant and safely contains the toxicity of batteries.

“We are really working to make sustainability accessible for Truman students, and we hope they will make the effort to be more sustainable and do more things like recycle batteries,” Elder said.

If not disposed of properly, batteries are toxic to the environment. Elder said that batteries should not be in landfills and require a strenuous process to recycle. With a permanent facility on campus, Truman can reduce its footprint on the environment when students begin recycling their batteries.

The recycling proposal met resistance with Residence Life because the bins are a potential fire hazard in the residence halls. Senior student adviser Jacob Hobbs said this decision more than likely came from the fire code that Residence Life is legally bound by.

Hobbs said it is difficult to modify residence halls. He said in the past, West Campus Suites staff wanted to install a compost bin on site to promote sustainability. The idea had student backing but was denied because of hygiene concerns.

Hobbs said it’s not that Residence Life is unwilling to work with students to start initiatives, but there are certain rules and standards which must be maintained on campus. Hobbs said a battery recycling proposal was something a lot of student advisers could get behind.

Opportunities for student involvement in sustainability are hopefully coming soon, Kolok said. Following the battery recycling proposal, he said he hopes to pass an initiative that would promote glass recycling on campus, something previously dropped from lack of funding and faculty. With these elements back, Kolok said he has been working with Student Government to form a glass recycling resolution.

Students can also use recycling bins at the Office of Sustainability located in Violette Hall. The office also stands as a resource for anyone interested in learning more about sustainability and how to promote it on campus.