Where did all the recycling bins go?

RecyclingMany of the recycling bins in the Milne Library disappeared recently and people have taken notice. So where did they go and why? According to Laura Canfield, head academic custodial supervisor, the answers to these questions are quite simple:

“…our recycling provider will not take recycling that has mixed or food trash. Our custodians were finding that most if not all of the recycling containers [within Milne] had food or liquid thrown in with the recycling. These bags would then have to be placed in the land fill as well.” (emphasis ours)

In other words, all of us users of the library are doing a very poor job of recycling properly, and we have lost our recycling bins as a result.

While this is a problem all across campus from time-to-time, it occurs with much greater frequency in Milne. So why is it such a big issue here?

Unfortunately, no one has any simple answers to that question. The solution, however, is quite simple: take a few extra seconds to ensure that you are putting your waste into the proper bin. A full list of the campus’ recycling policies can be found here, but the most important information as it pertains to recycling in the library are as follows:

-Items being placed in bins labelled “Glass, Metal, Plastic” should at the very least be fully emptied. Rinsed is best, but fully empty is acceptable. Also, plastic bags should not be put into these bins; they can be recycled at the Geneseo Wegmans’ or Wal-Mart.

-Items being placed in bins labelled “Paper” should not have been in contact with food. Things like paper plates, coffee cups, or other paper cups need to be thrown in with the regular garbage due to food contamination. These same items also contain plastic liners which cannot be recycled, and should still be thrown in the regular garbage even if they have not come in contact with food or liquid.

While it is disappointing that many of our recycling bins have been removed from the library, we are hoping we can use this situation to educate patrons about proper recycling and its importance to our campus and environment. In addition to this blog post, representatives from the Geneseo Environmental Organization (or GEO) will have a presence in our lobby through Friday, November 6th to answer recycling-related questions. They are also conducting an online survey about recycling around campus, and they would appreciate your feedback and suggestions.

We are hoping to see the rest of our recycling bins returned to the library eventually, but when all it takes is one item to contaminate an entire bag of recycling, we need everyone to do their part.  Do you have suggestions? Tell us in the comments! We hope you will join us in making a conscious effort to recycle properly.