VIEWS: Recycling Obstacles Downtown

Dispatch from SSC Intern Barbara Summers

Since I am interning at SSC I have relocated to DC for the summer. I live downtown and I love being right in the heart of things, but there is one major gripe that I have, and that is the recycling situation. Although I am a huge nalgene fan and have my water bottle with me at all times, I do occasionally drink from plastic bottles and cans. As an avid environmentalist, I like to recycle these drink containers, but I am usually forced to bring them all the way back to my apartment to recycle. I see people every day, especially tourists fill the trash cans on the streets with objects that could easily be recycled. If you don’t have an apartment in the city like me, let’s face it, you probably are not going to want to carry your trash with you all day just to make sure it gets recycled.

After being annoyed with the recycling situation, I decided to do a little research on the topic. I did discover that a recycling program is being developed for the National Mall. Nearly four tons of trash is currently delivered to the landfill every day from the tourist hotspot. The program will begin in October after a study is completed by the National Parks Service this summer to see exactly how much waste is produced, what kind of waste, and where the recycling bins should go.

Dan Wenk, acting director of the National Park Service stated "We recognize that we can do a better job with recycling wherever we are throughout the country. We would hope that we would make recycling easy for people on the National Mall — that we don't provide an excuse for them to toss something away that won't be recycled." The program is being sponsored by Coca-Cola which gave a $1.1 million grant to establish this much needed program. I only hope that this new recycling program will lead to establishment of some sort of public recycling program on a city wide scale.

For more information on the National Mall recycling program click here.