Our recycling system is as easy as it can get, in my opinion. Blue bins are all over campus, you can request more from custodial, and everything goes in one bin. Let me give you a quick run-down, clear up any confusion, and make it easy to spread the word.
Our WM recycling facility takes on 5 types of materials: plastic, paper, cardboard, glass and metal. They sort this material into each category on site.
Food that damages the integrity of the material makes it NOT recyclable (like massive oil-stains). Liquids don’t destroy a material’s recyclability, and a little food residue is ok. Basically, you don’t have to wash it, but at least dump it out.
- Plastics need to have the recycling logo somewhere and be numbered 1-7. Unnumbered plastics are not recyclable, like straws, grocery and ziplock bags, seals, banding. Lids, numbered or not, can be left on numbered vessels.
- Sturdy paper and cardboard are all recyclable. Envelopes with plastic panes, waxed magazines and sealed cardboard are all acceptable. Tissues, tissue paper, paper towels and toilet paper are not.
- Metal and glass can also have lids on them. Aluminum and tin cans are recyclable, as well as aluminum foil sheets and pie pans. Scrap metal isn’t, and can be brought to the service center. Glass vessels are recyclable; mirrors, light bulbs and glasses aren’t. You should donate your glasses anyway. Light bulbs can be given to custodians or brought to the service center for responsible disposal.
Styrofoam, even if numbered, is simply not recycled at our facilities. Plastic bags are not acceptable because they get caught in the sorting apparatus, but they can be recycled at the service center or Beuhler’s uptown. Any organic materials, cornstarch plastic or unrecyclable paper/cardboard can always be put in our compost bins outside of Lowry.
If given the choice, it is better to recycle than it is to compost because it is less expensive for the school. That does not mean you should ever put food in the recycling, but clean cornstarch ‘plastic’ clamshells, paper and cardboard is better disposed in recycling.
Now, I’ve mentioned scrap metal and plastic recycling in the Service center, but one step above recycle is reuse.
Few know that in the Copy Center, Joyce collects single-sided blank paper and turns them into free notepads. She is always collecting paper, and there is always a box of free notepads in front of her desk. Stop by anytime they are open.
For anyone who has taken ceramics, you know the importance of large plastic used to seal the moisture in to ceramics pieces. Walter Zurko is always collecting dry-cleaner plastic sheets for use in the ceramics studio.
Other items that are still usable and clean can always be donated to GoodWill (including tires) or posted on Tartan Traders, FreeCycle or Craig’s List.
Electronics and batteries should NEVER be thrown away. They always have some bad metals (lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium) that can contaminate groundwater. They also always have some good stuff (copper, gold, plastic, glass, circuit chips) that can be reused or recycled.
E-Cycling bins are in every dorm and the Wired Scot, but can also be brought to Ken Fletcher at the Service Center. These brown bins take common items like cell phones, laptops, DVDs, tablets, calculators, GPS’s and video games. All other electronics can be brought to I.T. on the 4th floor of Morgan. They accept all electronics and recycle them responsibly.
Battery recycling should be in every laundry room on campus. Let your R.A. know if it’s not.
Get ready for RRR week after fall break! (Oct 21-27) I will post a schedule when it gets a little closer.