Guide to Recycling At The College of William & Mary

The Flat Hat

You know those blue bins next to the normal trash cans? If you did not already know this, they are for recycling and are not getting the attention they deserve. According to recycle maniacs’ recycling competition the college got 92nd place out of 200 for 2016. Now to be fair, this is better than 2015 where we were 139 but we were at 33 in 2014 so we can clearly do better. In 2016 we had a 37 percent recycling rate, but I think we should be able to raise this much higher.

It should be a bit redundant telling college students why recycling is so important, but given the percentages maybe not.

It should be a bit redundant telling college students why recycling is so important, but given the percentages maybe not. When we reuse objects and repurpose raw materials it means less going into landfills which contribute to pollution both in air and water.

If there was ever a time when you weren’t sure if something could be recycled, so you just threw it away, this guide is for you.

What to Recycle

Plastic bottles and cans should be a no brainer at this point, but they are still one of the most used recyclable things we have so they are really important to recycle. You can also skip them entirely by using a reusable water bottle or repurposing those plastic water bottles for pencil holders, planters, and all sort of creative uses.

Any type of paper or cardboard is completely recyclable. This is so much of what we as students end up disposing of (that exam you don’t want to look at) so it is really important to seek out the recycling bins for them even if it means a little extra searching (that is its own problem).

Plastics #1 and #2 are the two recyclable forms of plastics on campus. You can usually find the number of recyclable in the triangle symbol on the bottom of the container.

Plastic bags, small electronics, batteries, light bulbs, and ink cartridges do not go in the general recycling bins but can still be recycled. Batteries, light bulbs, small electronics, and ink cartridges can all be recycled at the entrance of the Earl Greg Swem Library. For plastic bags there are supposed to be white bins the student recreation center, Sadler Center, and Swem library.

What NOT to Recycle

Pizza boxes and disposable plates and cups are unfortunately not recyclable because of the food remnants that saturate the boxes. This also includes any other items that still have food remnants on them.

Plastic plates and cups are often not recyclable either because this type of plastic actually has potentially toxic chemicals. My favorite thing to hear about where I place my food.

If you want any more information on what and what not to recycle the College has more information on it here. Maybe now we can soon start to improve our recycling rating and make it at least into the top 50.


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