Dear Sustainable Abigail…



Hi Abby!

I am living in Adams this year and I have noticed students putting the trash bags from their room into the larger bathroom bins. I was under the impression that all trash from our room should be placed in a trash room, and definitely not the bathroom. I want to tell people to be conscious of their actions and take the time to place their trash in the correct room, but I do not want to be harsh or rude. How would you recommend I approach this situation?

-Worried about Waste

Hey Worried about Waste,
This is a very common issue, one that I am so glad you brought up! First of all, you are absolutely right.  It is super important to put waste in the proper receptacles, especially personal trash which is simply not meant for the bathroom trash can. It is always hard to address situations like this, and I have run into this issue myself. Fortunately, there are a couple great resources that can lend a hand.  First, talk to your JA. It doesn’t have to be an accusatory conversation, but instead, by reaching out about this issue, you can open a dialogue on an important topic and bounce ideas off of one another. Perhaps your JA would be able to send out a reminder email, or even hold a program that is waste oriented to get people thinking about their actions. Another way to approach this is through speaking to your custodian, a great person to create a relationship with. I would imagine they are feeling some of the same frustration, so creating a partnership with them would be a cool way to tackle the issue. In general, it’s great to get to know your custodians and put a face on the incredibly important work they do, so even facilitating a way to have your custodian meet your floor, perhaps with help from your JA or the Ecoreps, could begin to solve this issue with the bonus of a positive relationship with the people who make all of our lives much better (and cleaner)! The Ecoreps have been working hard to create initiatives for students to create these relationships with their custodians, and would love to help you in any way we can; if you’re interested just shoot an email to [email protected] and we can get started on this issue together. Thank you so much for bringing up this problem. It is one that happens campus-wide and is important to be conscious of, as everyone’s approach to waste affects our overall sustainability.

Who is Sustainable Abigail? She is a sustainability advocate at your service! If you’re worried about recycling, have ideas about addressing food waste, or concerns about your role promoting sustainability on campus, Abigail is a great resource to turn to. Whatever your sustainable inquiries may be, Abigail is ready to address them all! Simply write to her by either filling out the google form found in Bates Today or by writing your concern on a piece of paper and placing it into her question box in Commons. Any question is valid and appreciated and will stay anonymous, so don’t hesitate to ask!