Vending machine items should be healthier, more environmentally friendly

By Ekhlas Abdullahi

Have you ever found yourself craving a cold and tasty drink, and would do anything to quench your thirst?

Well look no further. The RCTC campus has multiple vending machines that hold cold plastic beverages ready to drink. Although these strategically placed machines are very convenient for quenching our thirst, how good are they for our environment? And how often are they properly recycled?

In order to find the answer, I kept track of the number of recycled items inside garbage cans.

For the past two weeks, every day at 4 p.m., I checked and kept a count of the number of bottles that were thrown away instead of recycled. Since I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep track of every garbage can on campus, in the cafeteria alone I counted at least 10 plastic bottles headed to the landfill.

I also interviewed students at random asking if they recycled or just threw away their bottles after they were done with them.

Out of the 20 students I interviewed, 12 admitted to throwing away their bottles instead of recycling, claiming that it was a hassle, or that they forget.

In contrast, some may argue that these vending machines help students who need a drink quick and fast between classes, but may be an unhealthy option for students who need nutrients to help study and sleep better.

So the question remains: Why do we have these machines that spit out plastic bottles that end up in the landfill instead of being recycled?

We should invest in healthier and more environmentally conscious foods that help both our students and our environment at the same time.