Reddies recycling is trashy


Kelly Stiles

Products placed in recycling bins across the Henderson campus are simply mixed with the rest of the garbage.

The average college student produces about 640 pounds of trash each year, according to Planet Aid. Nearly 3,600 students attend Henderson State University, indicating that the HSU campus accumulates about 2,304,000 pounds of waste annually. This does not include garbage from faculty, either.


HSU used to recycle plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and paper. Now, Henderson only recycles cardboard boxes–about 700 a year. While there are plastic bottle and aluminum can recycling bins sprinkled around campus, everything placed in them is simply mixed with the rest of the garbage.


“We are trying to donate plastic waste,” said Brandie Benton, associate provost of enrollment services and admissions. “But the center will no longer take it.”


The Arkadelphia Human Development center–where HSU donates their recyclables–accepted plastics up until 2018 when China banned plastic trade, according to Amy L. Brooks, environmental expert from the University of Georgia. Much of the plastic that Americans donate to recycling centers would eventually be shipped across the sea. The country banned the trade of recycled products because they were receiving too much of the waste to keep up with.


“That stuff going on with China has messed a lot of things up,” said Eric Davis, Arkadelphia Human Development rehabilitation and structure supervisor.


The Hot Springs Solid Waste Department is a 50-minute drive from Henderson, yet the closest recycling location that accepts boxes, paper, plastics and aluminum–all of the materials that HSU donated before the ban. The department will make house calls to pick up recyclable products upon request, but only within the Hot Springs city limits.


The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates that about 75% of all waste can be recycled. Unfortunately, the average American only recycles about 30% of it. Waste donation centers across the state can be found by location and products recycled at


As HSU is recovering from financial struggles resulting from past years of mismanaged funds, expenditures related to services that are not essential to the functionality of the university are now set aside. This includes recycling.


There are a few possible solutions to see that Henderson’s recyclables end up where they belong. The college could charge a fee to all students which will pay for transportation of gathered products to the Hot Springs Solid Waste Department. Or, student organizations on campus could share the responsibility of gathering and transporting recyclables. Many clubs and Greek groups priorities philanthropy–this would be an excellent venture to aid our campus and environment.