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TO: Jacob Stewart

FROM: Samantha Ford

DATE: October 16, 2015

SUBJECT: Recycling Scales Tipped In The Wrong Way?

Opening: An Aim To Improve


The University of Central Florida is the second-largest university in the country, with over
60,000 students and goals that include minimizing its environmental impact. By 2020, the
university intends to have a 75% recycling rate. As last reported, UCFs current recycling rate is
25%, meaning within the next five years were supposed to be making a massive jump. And yet,
the opportunities to recycle simply arent as present as they ought to be in a campus so dedicated
to this goal. Yes, there are recycling bins inside most every building, but the discrepancy is
obvious once you walk around campus. The simple fact of the matter is that there arent any
places a student can recycle while on their way to class, and there arent many people who are
going to carry around an empty container in wait of an opportunity to do so. UCF needs to
increase the number of recycling bins around campus and extend their reaches to the outdoors. If
every trash can had a recycling bin, UCFs recycling goals would be infinitely easier to reach.

Context: UCFs Recycling History

After researching the issue, I discovered that 39,000 pounds of materials were recycled during
the 2008 football season alone when recycling receptacles were placed around campus. Granted,
there's a higher percentage of recyclable materials being handled during game day, but this is still
an interesting find nonetheless. Students still could have thrown away their cans and bottles, but
they didn't, which I firmly believe is due to the convenience of the recycling bins and their
placements next to the trash cans. Also, during September 2013 we placed 3rd nationally in
EPA's "Game Day Challenge," which was designed to decrease the amount of waste produced at
football games. As a result, we now have recycling bins outside during all of our home games.
As of 2013, our recycling rate has supposedly increased to 57%, an increase from 2012's 25%
without the bags, but it is unclear whether this applies specifically to Game Days or our overall
recycling total. UCFs Student Government Association also did a demonstration in April of this
year to raise recycling awareness by filling the Reflecting Pond with 250,000 water bottles that
they gathered in merely a month, but other than informing the student body, no other actions
were made. Information regarding current recycling statistics at UCF are hard to come by, as the
UCF Recycles website is seven years out of date with its information. Lastly, Floridas Senate
has a goal that, by 2020, the state and local governmental entities, private companies and
organizations, and the general public is to recycle at least 75 percent of the municipal solid waste
that would otherwise be disposed of in waste management facilities, landfills, or incineration
facilities. However, institutions of higher learning are not required to do anything more than
annually report their recycled materials to the county, meaning that my initiative would be best
delivered at a more local level.

Task: Tackling The Recycling Issue

It seems that if a student has something that can be recycled, they will do itbut only if
convenient. The obvious solution then is to put a recycling bin next to every trash can, but this
creates some problems. First, money: will we have to pay for these bins, or will an organization
provide them to us? How much more will it cost to pay people to empty all of these additional
bins (will it be a substantial amount)? These issues may have to be addressed by fundraising, but
in order to fundraise wed first have to raise awareness in the UCF population and get them
interested in this initiative. Posters could possibly be put on the trash cans (and around campus)
with short inquiries to the effect of Could you have recycled that? To actually fundraise, I dont
have any solid plans. I am considering starting a petition in order to gather support, and
contacting a few people who can perhaps help make the obstacles that need to be overcome
clearer. Among those I plan to contact, Brian Wormwood of UCF Recycles needs to be among
the first so I can have a clearer understanding of what the current recycling situation is here at
UCF, and what it would take for my initiative to take place. After these facts are cleared up, I can
contact Ian Jurgenson of Greenworks with any further concerns or inquiries as to how to pursue
this initiative.

Discussion: The Rhetoric Towards Recycling At UCF


There are two main audiences I will have to address in this rhetorical situation: university
officials and students of the university. When dealing with UCF administration, I do have our
environmental plan to help tip things in my favor. References to this in portraying my initiative is
important in proving my case. However, there are constraints I must be wary of. Before I
approach anyone, I need to be on more sure footing of possible costs, as this could potentially be
the biggest pitfall. The fact of the matter is that Im simply unsure of what those may turn out to

be. Even if the bins end up being of little to no cost, one must consider the cost of labor
somebody has to collect the contents of all these new bins. What I need to highlight here is the
payoff: we already have solid evidence from the Game Day challenges that the presence of these
bins has an impact. Ultimately, there is already an exigence in existence in regards to
environmental impact here at UCF, and thats that it needs to be lessened. Their extensive plan
for overhaul is, honestly, my current strongest piece of backing. Furthermore, the most glaring
constraint all-around, no matter the audience, is the lack of specific information regarding UCFs
recycling program and statistics. I cannot begin to make a coherent argument without these
numbers. Without them, I am advocating for a cause without any real backing to draw upon. If
Im going to talk about recycling at UCF, I need to know the current percentagesits as simple
as that.

As for the UCF students, SGA has addressed the issue just earlier this year with their
demonstration at the Reflecting Pond, which could be used to my advantage. Their reach is far
wider than my own, and the fact that they are leaders would do wonders in not only legitimizing
myself and this initiative in the eyes of the students, but in the eyes of the UCF higher-ups. With
the UCF students as an audience, the focus need not be so much on the costs, but on gaining
support through attention-grabbing facts and thought-provoking questions. I have to get them to
care when weve been conditioned not to notice or think of it as inconsequential. This is my
biggest constraint in regards to the student audience: the preconceived notion that global
warming and environmental conscientiousness is not our generations problem. Ill have to figure
out a way to overcome this. The term global warming needs to undergo resignification so that
its association is no longer necessarily with the hippie movement, which is generally scoffed

at. Instead, it needs to be a term that we become genuinely concerned about and view as a real
consequence. Likewise, recycling needs to be treated in the same way: resignified to stand for
a legitimate action with consistency rather than something we do as our good deed of the day.

Obviously, UCFs administration is a stakeholder in this initiative. Its success or downfall


directly impacts their environmental plan, the one so closely associated to President Hitt. UCF
Recycles needs to also be acknowledged, because they will ultimately be the ones responsible for
it being carried out and continued: workers from their department would be emptying them and
whatnot. They might need to hire more workers, and that cost would have to come from their
budget (or the UCF budget in general).

As implied earlier, I need to have my credibility establishedwithout any reason for people to
listen to me, Im nothing but a freshman shouting about recycling. With a more solid foundation
of factshopefully gathered by an email exchange with Brian WormwoodIll be on the right
track. Ideally, hell get on my side with the initiative, thus boosting my credibility. If not, Emily
Dovydaituswho arranged the Reflecting Pond eventcan be contacted. She clearly has a
passion for this sort of thing, and her position in SGA only makes her more valuable. This brings
me to another point: SGA is another possible audience. They have a lot of resources and a wide
scope of people to reach out to, and could be incredibly helpful in giving this initiative the
attention it deserves. Theyve also already worked with UCF Recycles (to do the aforementioned
event). Ultimately, they could be an incredibly helpful partner in raising awareness about my
initiative and raising its voice to the UCF population as a whole.

Closing: Future of Recycling

In short, my first step in this plan of action needs to be contacting UCF Recycles to get more upto-date information and discover any immediate pitfalls in the initiative. My biggest constraint is
the lack of information specific to UCF and its recycling habits, so before I can do anything else
I must overcome this. After that, Ill be able to make a more clear and cohesive plan of action,
including how to get the bins, additional costs, and gathering support. Some valuable resources
to keep in mind:

http://www.cityoforlando.net/greenworks/solid-waste/
o Potential advocate
http://today.ucf.edu/ucfs-game-day-recycling-earns-epa-recognition/
o Highlights success of Game Day Recycling
http://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/basics/
o A few key facts about climate change/global warming
http://rs.acupcc.org/site_media/uploads/cap/448-cap.pdf
o VERY KEYthe UCF environmental action plan
http://www.dep.state.fl.us/waste/categories/recycling/pages/laws.htm
o States that universities need not do anything beyond report their recycling
numbersin other words, I need to keep at a local level
http://knightnews.com/2015/04/ucf-fills-reflecting-pond-with-250k-water-bottles-forreflect-on-sustainability/
o SGAs past attempts to raise environmental awareness

http://www.recycling.ucf.edu/index.htm
o This is the UCF Recycles websiteoutdated, but has contact information