Recycling is the law! According to the CT Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, every single resident of Connecticut must recycle. Fortunately, UConn has worked very hard to ensure that recycling on campus is effortless and accessible. Between 2013 and 2014 alone, our recycling rate has increased nearly 2 percent, equivalent to over 50 tons!
In the past, recycling was a confusing, time consuming task, especially for students in a rush to get to class. If there were no visible recycling bins nearby, one would simply toss their bottle into a garbage can. Even with recycling bins in sight, so many individuals were unsure of what items belonged in what bins, so they would either throw their bottle into an incorrect bin or a garbage can. The problem did not stem from a lack of motive, but from confusion and inconvenience.
New mixed recycling bins are designed to eliminate confusion regarding what items can be placed in what bin. Indicated by the bright blue color and distinct lid shape, these mixed recycling bins are all over campus. With an opening configured for both bottles and paper, nearly any recyclable, including plastics bottles, metal cans, milk cartons, newspapers and magazines, paper, books, and cardboard, can be tossed into this type of bin. It is no surprise that in 2014, 32 percent of the waste diverted at UConn came from mixed recycling. Now, when students are rushing to class, it takes no more time or effort to place a bottle in a mixed bin than it does to throw it into a garbage can.
Despite UConn’s efforts to make recycling timely and convenient, there still exists a lack of knowledge and understanding of the concept of mixed recycling bins to a degree. Many are not aware of the new guidelines, and are still unsure of what can be thrown out where. It is imperative that those who understand the concept and intention of these bins educate those students, faculty, and staff that do not. Spreading the word will make a world of a difference on our campus!