Are you in the RecycleMania spirit but don’t know exactly know how to start recycling? We’re here to help! In this post we’re going to explain the recycling process and how you should prepare your recyclables. You’ll also learn a little bit about what you can’t recycle. Here’s the ins and outs of recycling on and off campus!
How to know and how to prepare
So, how do you know if something can be recycled?
The presence of the recycling symbol, three arrows chasing each other in the form of a triangle is the universal indicator. However, your recycler may have specific guidelines in place.
To clean or not to clean?
You do not have to thoroughly wash and clean everything, but please scrape out any food or pour out any liquids before placing in the recycle bin. This will help prevent contamination of the recyclable materials and the bin. If you are taking recyclables to the Springfield Recycling Center they ask for you to rinse out your bottles, tin, and food containers.
Also remember that when recycling, it’s good to not only rinse and empty all containers, but also to flatten all boxes. Do not flatten containers and cans, and keep in mind that there’s no need to remove staples, rubber bands, paper clips, stamps, tape, and/or spiral binding from paper.
Should I recycle this?
Paper towels and napkins
These products are usually made from paper that’s already been recycled as many times as it reasonably can be. With each cycle, the fibers in the paper get shorter to the point where it can no longer be recycled again. It’s also not recommended that you recycle them because they could potentially ruin an entire batch of recyclables due to contact with food, grease, and bodily fluids. Therefore, paper towels and napkins should be thrown away. However, if you compost, napkins can be thrown in with food scraps to decompose. Did you know: all napkins thrown away in the dining halls on campus are composted?
Pizza boxes are made from corrugated cardboard, but when they soak up grease from the pizza, they can’t be recycled. This is because the paper fibers will not be able to be separated from the oils during the process. Parts of the pizza box that are NOT contaminated by grease or food CAN be recycled.
Glass is not accepted in the recycling bins in academic buildings or outdoors. Glass CAN be recycled in the residence halls and other specific locations and events on campus.
Styrofoam is recyclable; however, our campus recycling programs as well as curbside and City programs do not accept styrofoam. The main reason for this is because it doesn’t make financial sense for recycling companies to accept styrofoam. Luckily, there are some locations in Springfield that accept styrofoam for recycling. Reference the guide to recycling in springfield
Where to recycle
We have recycling containers in all of the academic buildings, residence halls, as well as 20 outdoor recycling containers for use between buildings and at the shuttle stops. But please keep in mind how the bins are labeled, and don’t let those labels confuse you. Paper goes in the paper bin, all other recyclables should be thrown into the commingled bin (remember some may say cans/bottles only, but are actually commingled), and all waste in the trash bin. All recycling bins outside are commingled as well!
Off campus recycling:
Batteries: Batteries Plus Bulbs, Complete Electronics Recycling, Computer Recycling Center, Interstate Batteries
Plastic Bags: Most local thrift stores, Springfield Victory Mission Donation Center, Walmart Supercenters, Lowe’s return desk, Target, and some local grocers
Here’s a link to the specifics of where to recycle throughout Springfield!
The recycling process
There are 3 different steps to recycling. Here they are:
Step 1: Collection and Processing
This step includes curbside collection, drop-off centers, and deposit or refund programs. When collected, the recyclables are sent to a facility to be sorted, cleaned and processed into materials that can be used again in manufacturing.
Step 2: Manufacturing
The recycled material is manufactured into different items like
-Newspapers, paper towels,aluminum, plastic, and glass drink containers, steel cans, plastic laundry detergent bottles, and more.
They are also used in new ways! Such as recovered glass in asphalt to pave roads or recovered plastic in carpeting and park benches!
Step 3: Purchasing
This is the step that really keeps the recycling process going. The more recyclable products people purchase, the longer these three steps can continue!