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  • Taydem Ware

Classroom Spotlight: CHM 182 Conservation & Recycling

Dr. Irosha Nawarathne is leading CHM 182 Conservation and Recycling this semester. It’s a one-credit, one-hour a week class currently on Tuesdays at 11A.M.. Most of the time, the class observes academic sources and discusses the circular economy and different types of recycling which are available to us at this time. We’ve had class debates over chemical recycling, discussions over how our plastic pollution is hurting the environment, and lectures on microplastics. It’s a very informative and hands-on class.

We’ve learned many things throughout the first half of the semester. One thing that shocked all of us was the fact that most people eat a credit card’s worth of microplastics in a week. There’s no evidence that microplastics actually harm humans, but we do know they’ve been ingrained in the placenta of animals and caused them to die. Microplastics are dangerous, but we don’t have enough research backing up any claims to try to ban certain plastics and practices. Microplastics are also everywhere. They come off of tires, clothes, and plastic containers. They are most commonly released via warming food up in plastic containers. The heat causes the plastic to rapidly break down and shed microscopic plastic particles into the food.

I got to step outside of the classroom and hear a little more from Dr. Irosha one-on-one. She stated that her goal coming into this semester of CHM182 was to promote more mindfulness in each student. She hopes they will stop and think before buying that new shirt instead of checking the thrift store first. Dr. Irosha believes that by spreading the information to the students, they will then take it home to their families and friends.

Aside from the recycling project taking place on campus now, Dr. Irosha would like to begin outreach in elementary and middle schools. She says that these habits should be started and learned young. It’s not the same when you haven’t grown up with it.

This class and the things we’ve learned about are going to become more prevalent the further we advance as a society. It’s important for us to learn and share the information. Hopefully, our children and their children will help make recycling prevalent in society


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