To the students at Eckerd College recycling is more than just dumping plastic bottles in a big blue bin.
Evan Bollier, the director of sustainability at Eckerd, oversees the recycling program that works with volunteers and about 15-20 work study students who go through the daily process of picking up and sorting the recycling bins across campus.
Students hand-sort everything that gets recycled. Henley Guill, a senior who has been a work study employee under Bollier for three years, explains the importance of students putting their recycling in the correct bin.
“If there’s liquid in the bottle that spills on the paper, we have to throw it all away,” Guill said. “It’s a big waste [and] it just saves us a lot of time.”
According to Maddie Grubb, a junior work study student who oversees volunteers and leads crews in the collection of bins, the biggest problem with the recycling program is that students don’t know what is and isn’t recyclable at Eckerd.
“Even if you knew what got recycled [in your hometown], our company here in St. Petersburg is different,” Grubb said.
Recycling is encouraged by staff, students and volunteers in the office of sustainability, but they also urge the Eckerd community to remember the following tips.
- If it’s sticky or gross, rinse it off so it doesn’t contaminate the whole bin. This includes plastic bottles and paper cups.
- The volunteers sorting through the recycling don’t have time to cut the gross pieces off every plate or pizza box, but you do! Tear off the bottom half if it has a grease stain so that the grease-free lid can still get recycled.
- Pay attention to the bin you use; if it’s trash make sure you DON’T try to recycle it.
- Keep an eye out for lectures about sustainability, and make sure you attend so that you can enhance your knowledge about recycling.
Below is a list of common things found by recycling student volunteers and workers which may seem recyclable, but were actually thrown away when sorted. This list is specific to Eckerd and does not imply that the items are entirely non-recyclable, just that our program cannot do it at this time.
What to toss in the trash:
- Greasy pizza boxes
- Boxed water
- Milk / juice cartons
- Plastic wrap
- Dog poop
- Pringles cans
- Bubble wrap
Plastic shopping bags are also frequently added into Eckerd’s bins, but aren’t accepted through the college’s current program. However, sometimes they are transported to Publix to be recycled, but it is best for the recycling program if students can do that themselves at locations that collect the used bags.
The list below includes recyclables that are good to go through Eckerd’s program. Remember, everything on this list must be clean, empty and dry before it is sorted into the correct bin.
What recyclables Eckerd accepts:
- Metal food and drink cans
- Glass containers
- Plastic drink bottles
- Cardboard boxes
- Plastic jugs