Cans and Cannot’s of Recycling

Story Highlights

  • The Cans of Recycling
  • The Cannot’s of Recycling
  • What it Means to us as Consumers
  • Dining Halls Need to Learn About Recycling

People often hesitate whether they should recycle something or not, and in the end, do not recycle it at all because they just don’t know. Hassle may be the biggest reason why people opt not to recycle, but lack of knowledge as to whether recycle something or not also comes into play.

“I don’t recycle because I don’t know where the recycling bins are at or what to recycle, even… I only know that cell phones, plastic, metal, paper can be recycled.” -Tiffany Thaoxaochay, Freshman, Marketing, PUNY

The Cans of Recycling

College students recycle a lot

The blue recycling bins inside each dorm room are extremely helpful in facilitating recycling in general at school. It makes it more convenient and easier for students to recycle - and there's a lot to recycle to when you're always getting drinks from the dining hall. However, the reusable water bottle alternative better of the situation.

Recycling reduces landfill space and are reusable. Items that are usually recyclable are paper bags, paper, aluminum cans, beer bottles, cardboard, and plastic containers or bottles. Clear glass containers and metal cans (canned soup, paint cans) are also just as recyclable. Phone books are an absolute must for recycling too as they are quite bulky and will have an impact as far as recycling goes.

Other innovative things that can be recycled or personally reused but you may not know of include aquariums, eyeglasses, blue jeans, clothes hangers, and more. Things like leftover fruits, twigs, leaves, and garden trimmings can be useful in making compost to help Earth’s soil.

The Cannot’s of Recycling
You do not want to be recycling the wrong items because it can lead to an even more disastrous outcome in the long run. Items that are not recyclable are often items that do not break down well or quickly in landfills. Items you should not be tossing into the blue bin includes plastic utensils, milk cartons, batteries, styrofoam packagings, and more. Not all plastics are recyclable either, including numbers 3 and 7, which you can recognize by looking at the number that is printed on the bottom of the container.

What it Means to us as Consumers

Plastic fruit cup from Metro's Dining Hall

Plastic fruit cup from Metro Station Dining Hall. Eat healthy and buy it in recyclable plastic, and it's a win-win situation!

Consumerism plays a big part in as to where our future goes as far as being environmentally-friendly goes. What we buy determines what keeps being in the market. If we want our future to be as Green as possible, the first steps we can take is to become a Greener consumer. Switching things up like buying water bottles that are reusable will cut down on how many plastic bottles are going to be made to sell to consumers (it takes more water to actually make a single plastic bottle than what the plastic bottle actually contains when it’s ready to be sold).

Picking paper bags over plastic bags, opting to only use recyclable alternatives to styrofoam containers, and purchasing only recyclable utensils and plates (or washable ones you can reuse) are things a consumer can do that will exponentially help the cause of going Green. The power of consumerism is powerful if people can learn of the impact they can make when deciding what to purchase.

Reselling reusable things by CRV rates after you bought something can also have a major impact on the environment.

“We do recycle all the time, but it is mainly because I’ve seen my parents do it ever since I was born. Whenever we go throw away things, we separate all the trash into recycling trash and regular trash. The main reason for our family’s recycling is to sell it and earn some money.” – Phillip Park, BHS

Dining Halls Need to Learn About Recycling

Try not to take to-go

Try not to take to-go boxes when eating at the dining halls because these boxes are non-recyclable. They are made of material that can't be easily broken-down. Trying eating in the hall instead, using the washable plates.

The boxes we use to carry our food back to our rooms from CP’s dining halls are non-recyclable. The material it is made wouldn’t be able to break down once it makes its way to the landfills. The plastic utensils that are used are also non-recyclable.

“Yes I think they should use recyclable to-go boxes for food because people throw away boxes after they eat, since it’s gonna be trash, it might as well be biodegradable trash. I think campus dining should stop using those plastic utensils, and switch to biodegradable utensils. The CC in my hometown uses recyclable utensils, and they look so much cuter, so another plus!” – Dinh Luu, Second Year, Business

In light of another perspective, there are other institutions that are more environmentally aware and active. For example, UC Merced aims to be a greener campus:

“Being a green campus nearly fully supported by solar and water energy, we’re required to recycle…like for real, we get in trouble if we don’t. Nearly all of our assignments are electronic, and all of the to-go containers and utensils at the dining commons are made from biodegradable vegetable pulp.” – Sarah Key, Freshman, Ecology/Evolutionary Biology, UCM

Sources (Not Quoted):
Ravi Sahai, 3rd Year, Mechanical Engineering


  1. kkenney90 said,

    February 28, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Really informative article! I will be much more careful about which plastics I recycle now.

  2. March 2, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    Nice picture of all the bottles, and your recycle widget looks really good!

  3. maggiekaiserman said,

    March 14, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    Those pictures are really nice. I learned a lot from reading this!

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