Save Our Parking Garages

Parking garages are for Comets to store cars, not old fast food wrappers. Photo by Viet Khue Vu | Mercury Staff


With all the facilities we have on campus, there is no excuse for littering. Comets need to take proper trash disposal more seriously.

UTD is ranked Gold by the Association for Advancement in Sustainability in Higher Education, meaning holistically, the campus is doing well with its green initiatives. With generally clean spaces to congregate in and learn, the campus’s environmental health is evident – until you see the parking garage.

Since coming back from online education, the parking garages on campus have become more and more nasty, with UV being one of the worst offenders. Walk by UV any time of day and you’re bound to see food scraps and loose garbage fluttering in the breeze.

How is it possible to get this comfortable with littering? Sure – there aren’t as many access points to trash cans in the parking garage as there are in buildings. And, sure – it can take longer to find a proper place to dispose of waste, especially for those parked on higher floors. But seriously? With trash receptacles available, there’s no way tossing a greasy hamburger wrapper on the ground in a hurry makes more sense than waiting a few minutes to properly dispose of your rancid trash.

But let’s be honest. Littering is so common because it is physically easy to do, and as painful as it is to say, convenient. It seems to be a reflex for drivers in the parking garage – something insignificant, instantaneous and natural. No harm done. If this sounds like you, then don’t complain about how dirty the UV garage is. The combined effects of this carelessness are damaging and can’t be overlooked.

In 2023, few are unaware of the profound impact littering has on the environment. On top of contributing to pollution and being difficult to clean, littering can harm nearby wildlife like UTD’s neighboring squirrels and rabbits who could easily ingest trash on the ground and even become trapped in it.

Littering is downright disgusting, unhygienic and disrespectful to our campus. I’m sure you wouldn’t tolerate someone carelessly discarding their trash around your home, nor would you litter your own yard with dirty wrappers. And every walkway in UV is some student’s front yard. So why are you comfortable contaminating a shared space like the parking lot?

At least in UV, students spend some amount of time there and have an incentive to pick up your wrappers. But who lives in the parking garage? As a transitory area, people barely even stop to look at the ground, and all of that effort falls onto the janitorial staff. This makes their job more tedious than it needs to be and takes attention away from more important areas of campus. The bare minimum that an adult can do is clean up after themselves.

It is incredibly easy to recycle and worth the few minutes to walk to a recycling bin. The UV parking garages have both recycling bins and general trash compartments near their entrances. If you need to dispose of dry or clean number 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 7 plastic or cardboard, paper, unbroken glass or aluminum cans, find a recycling bin. Any other type of trash and anything soggy, unclean or covered in grease or food goes in the trash. Even better, bring your food in reusable containers that you can keep with you instead of buying fast food that you’ll have to throw away later.

As we enter the new semester, UTD is making an extra effort to have the campus clean and ready for students. So please, let’s keep it that way.


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