Del Williams

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USC Threatens Arrest for Recyclers

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I am all for obeying rules, even stupid ones, but sometimes you have to call a thing a thing. The University of Southern California (USC) promotes recycling and sustainability, but it turns out those who do it to pay rent, buy food and such can't benefit from this. Let me explain: Apparently there is an unwritten rule which campus police enforce which prevents people from recycling cans and bottles which students, faculty and guest have thrown in the trash.

It's a private campus, so that sorta makes sense, but then it falls off the rail. USC has lots of areas to recycle during PUBLIC evens, but probably to their chagrin people still insist on throwing the majority of their cans and bottles in the regular garbage cans which will go to landfills.

So, I am struggling to figure out why USC prevents those who are willing to stick their gloved hands into garbage cans and recycle them from doing so? Is it because the majority of those recycling are of Latino or Black? Yes, I went there with the race thing. USC is in the middle of a Latino neighborhood, but based on it's own demographics, has less than 20 percent of the two cultures combined out of 38,000 students.

Another caveat is that most of the recyclers around USC are single women with children. This is based on observation on my part. Considering that 1 in 5 children are in poverty, one has to wonder why USC would begrudge a single parent a few pennies. The fact is the recycling centers only pay $1.65 a pound for cans, so these men and women have to to get around 100 cans just to get around $5 or $6.

Many of them like to collect at tail gating parties and large events since it is the easiest way to collect that sort of volume. Since they are picking the cans off the ground and out of garbage cans during public events, one has to wonder how a school which promotes sustainability and recycling would prefer to have people arrested than to let them have the cans.

I am in no way advocating can collectors should be allowed on the campus all times of the day or night, but when it is a public event, why should USC care if the recyclers are not bothering people. If anything, due to the amount of work involved, they should serve as role models on to students that hard work is always beats entitlement.

Life is difficult enough without threatening poor people trying to get a few pennies with arrest over cleaning up your trash.
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