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Going Green:

Students place importance on recycling, conservation

By: Haley Cox/Editor

     Going “green” is the current craze, and Wayland students are well in tune. According to a student survey conducted by the Trail Blazer, students believe recycling and conservation is important.
      Yet, a number of students skip out on environmentally-friendly habits.
The survey, which was conducted mainly during the lunch hour in the cafeteria, asked 100 students about their environmental beliefs and their habits.
      Ninety-three students said they believed recycling was important, while only 27 had even recycled in the last month. The location of recycle bins on campus was a mystery to 76 students.
      Ninety-two students said they believed water conservation was important, while 43 said they left the water running when they either brushed their teeth or washed their hands.
      Finally, 80 students said they believed electricity conservation was important, while 34 said they left the lights on when leaving for the day.

Recycling for the future
      Paper takes about 2 to 5 months to decompose. Plastic containers can take 50 to 100 years.
      The Plainview Landfill recorded the disposal of 29,218 tons of waste in 2007 for Plainview and some from Lockney. That averages out to about one ton per person — and all that trash isn’t going anywhere.
     “It’ll be here for years,” landfill superintendent Buster Perry said. “Plastic is the worst. They’ve dug up 100-year-old landfills and you can still read the writing (on the plastic containers).”
Recycling can relieve some of the pressure on landfills.
     “Recycling is important for any community,” Jackie Smith, Plainview Recycle Foreman said. “It saves a lot of space in the landfill and saves thousands of dollars.”
      The Plainview Recycling Center opened its doors in 1998, according to Smith. The big red building located at 1018 Juniper sorts and bales about 800-1,000 tons per year. The recyclable material is then shipped out to other centers for processing.
      Currently, only about a quarter of Plainview’s residents take everything to the trash.
     “About 75 percent do recycle (in Plainview),” Smith said.
      One of the biggest problems with recycling, according to Smith, is that people don’t know what is recyclable and what is not.
      The Recycling Center does not accept phone books, magazines, tree branches or leaves, Styrofoam or plastic bags.
      It does, however, accept all newspapers, office paper, shredded paper, cardboard, plastic, and aluminum and tin cans. Glass can be recycled, but only if it is brought directly to the center and not dumped in the designated blue Dumpsters.
      The Center can be reached by heading south on 5th Street (Highway 70). Cross over the overpass after Date Street. The Center is the first right turn after the overpass.
      Recyclable items should not be bagged but instead simply dumped into the blue recycling Dumpsters. Besides recycle bins inside campus offices, Wayland has three large blue Dumpsters located behind Gates Hall on the northwest corner for all general recycling.

Water’s disappearing act
      The water level at Lake Meredith is steadily declining. Plainview is one of 11 cities in the Panhandle and South Plains area that relies on water from Lake Meredith, located about 45 miles northeast of Amarillo. The Canadian River Municipal Water Authority (CRMWA), which governs the water distribution, cut water allocations to the cities in 2007. According to its Web site, the lake once held a record high depth of 101 feet in 1973. Now Lake Meredith suffers from a record low depth of 49 feet.
      But Plainview Water Plant Superintendent Darryel Pierce isn’t worried.
     “We’re not using near the capacity that we could be using,” Pierce said.
      The Plainview Water Plant recorded 958,531,100 gallons of total water usage for the city in 2007. Plainview receives water from a bed of more than 20 wells in the northern Panhandle. A pipe line delivers about 30 percent lake water and 70 percent well water to the city, according to Pierce. Plainview also has just completed one well here and has two more planned for construction. The city will replace one well that caved in last year at 20th and Kokomo streets, where a water booster station is already located. The second well will be located near the Senior Citizen’s Center. These water wells all draw from the Ogallala Aquifer, a vast underground lake stretching beneath the Great Plains.
      Thanks to these water wells, Plainview has enough water for its residents. However, Lake Meredith is still declining. To help save the little water left, students can be mindful of the water they use every day, such as taking showers, washing hands, brushing teeth and even flushing toilets. According to a Washingtonpost.com article, leaving the tap running while brushing teeth can use 2-5 gallons, while turning off the tap uses a mere 0.125 gallons. Leaving the tap running while washing hands can use 2-3 gallons, while leaving it running during shaving can use between 5-15 gallons.

Expensive energy
      City Electric of Plainview Foreman Ken Howe doesn’t foresee any major energy crisis in Plainview’s future. But that doesn’t mean saving energy can’t be beneficial.
     “(Saving electricity) is very important, especially with the rising cost of fuel,” Howe said. “Most of the electricity in our area is generated by natural gas.”
      With the rising cost of natural gas and other fuels, that cost is passed on to the consumer, Howe explained. Doing little things such as turning off lights, turning down the thermostat or unplugging chargers can save consumers more money.
      Another alternate energy source has been taking advantage of the West Texas winds.
      Renewable Energy Systems Americas began construction on a wind farm east of Floydada last year. The Whirlwind Wind Farm has 26 turbines and can generate 59.8 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 17,000 households, according to comments by RES-Americas president Craig Mataczynski in a 2007 Plainview Daily Herald article. The energy produced from these 417-feet-tall turbines goes directly into a power grid.
      The wind turbines may also help global warming. According to the frequently asked questions on the RES-Americas Web site, www.res-americas.com, the 50,000 megawatts of wind energy installed throughout the world save “as much as 80 million tonnes of Carbon Dioxide (a major greenhouse gas) per year that would otherwise be released.”