A new video on how to recycle effectively at the University is being launched. Facilities Team Green and Dining Team Green collaborated to create the informational video as a tool for all University staff, faculty, and students. It includes all the latest tips and recycling policies.
As stated in the video, “…recycling requirements differ by local municipalities and can also vary in public spaces versus residential locations.” The recycling standards on the University’s campuses may be different from how one might recycle at home. For this reason it is crucial that everyone is aware of the various University standards and reach out to your residential hauler if you are unsure about what is acceptable at home.
Changes in the global recycling market have been happening over time. China implemented a ban in 2018 in response to the high contamination levels of international recycling shipments it received. The ban affected over 30 products and has impacted local guidelines as mandated by Monroe County. A previous article highlights these changes and the top five things to currently know about recycling.
A major source of confusion is plastics, since the types of plastics that are acceptable for recycling in Monroe County has changed significantly throughout the years. Plastic items should be sorted by shape, not by the number icon on the item. Only plastic bottles, jugs, jars, and tubs should be placed in University recycling bins. All plastic items should be clean and empty with caps and lids placed back on.
Most clean paper is recyclable. However, paper food service ware such as cups, plates and napkins are not recyclable and should be sorted into a trash bin. Placing non-recyclable items in recycle containers causes contamination. One of the biggest sources of contamination is single-use beverage cups of all kinds, including both hot and cold coffee cups. The flyer below is available here and can be printed as a friendly reminder.
Considering that not as many items are acceptable for recycling as in previous times, it is especially important to emphasize reducing and reusing before resorting to recycling. In following the solid waste hierarchy, it is most environmentally beneficial to opt for reusable items such as reusable mugs, bags, and silverware.
In response to the recent changes, the University has replaced labels on recycling containers and updated guideline flyers. Posters framed throughout the River Campus are available here. Posters aimed to reach the University’s goal of 0% contamination are available here.
A special thank you to those who helped produce the recycling video. We encourage all to watch and share our video which is available on the UR Sustainable YouTube channel here.
Remember, “When in doubt, throw it out!”
Written by Emily Su, Class of 2022