There is no excuse to not recycle and recycle properly. Every year 18 billion pounds of plastic waste flows into the oceans contaminating the waters and creating massive plastic islands out in the ocean posing risks for sea life and ocean ecosystems. Additionally, 40% of plastic produced is for packaging and is used once and discarded.
With these statistics, it is astonishing that most of the apartment complexes around campus do not recycle. Thousands of students live in various complexes around campus including Park Place, UPointe, The View, URSA, the Domain and the Outpost. None of these places offer large scale recycling for residents. This negligence on behalf on the management staffs of these complexes is only furthering the plastic waste problem we have in our world today.
Even if your apartment does not recycle, that should not prevent you from doing so. It is not that difficult to create a recycling bin in your apartment and take those items over to the campus bins one every couple of weeks. There is a large recycling dumpster outside of Stacey Riddle Forum that is very easy to get to — just pull up your car, dump the stuff and drive back home. Additionally, if you live in a house that does not have a recycling bin, you can have your landlord request to get a blue bin delivered to your house.
Take initiative and make the effort to be environmentally friendly. As humans, we produce so much unnecessary waste, and recycling helps to save energy and reduce landfill sites which produce greenhouse gases contributing to global warming.
You may not have been raised on recycling and therefore may not even know what things you can and can’t recycle. If this describes you, then educate yourself and start recycling now. Here is a list of items you can and cannot recycle:
- Hard plastics and plastic bottles
- Paper and cardboard boxes: cereal/snack boxes, magazines, mails, papers and newspaper
- Tin, aluminum and steel cans
- Glass food containers, jars and bottles
- Wine and liquor bottles
When recycling it is important to rinse out all of these items thoroughly prior to putting them in the bin. Any item that is not cleansed contaminates the rest of that recycling batch and can potentially prevent all of the items from being recycled. This is often referred to as aspirational recycling — when you think what you’re throwing in there will eventually be repurposed, when in reality it is just going in the dumps. Paper and cardboard that are saturated by food can be composted if that is an option in your area but cannot be recycled.
- Plastic shopping bags (take these to HEB or Target where they have the plastic bag recycling stations)
- Soiled food items
- Broken glass
- Fast food packaging
- Plastic utensils
Every single person makes a difference, and the more people that recycle properly, the less plastic waste we produce as a whole. In addition to recycling, attempt to produce as little waste as possible — buy a reusable water bottle, bring reusable grocery bags to the store and invest in a metal straw.
All of us coming together is the only way to create a happier and cleaner earth.