BY: EMMA MCEVOY
Have you ever been the person standing in front of a recycling bin questioning what the fate of the piece of garbage is in your hand, and eventually decide to throw it in the trash because you weren't quite sure which bin it belongs.
The most important thing to know when sorting your trash is what goes in each category. Different places will have different categories available, so being aware of what each bin means is extremely helpful.
The three main categories are recycling, compost, and trash. Some extremely eco-conscious places (shout out to my high school for falling into this category) will provide a TerraCycle program.
Disclaimer: What can be recycled varies based on county, so be sure to check with your waste regulations.
Recycling is the process in which a specific material such as glass, paper, metal, aluminum, cardboard, etc. is collected and deconstructed to make new products from the old products by reusing the material. Recycling bins are the most common disposables available second to trashcan which go directly to landfills. Recycling bins are often blue or have the three arrow recycling symbol on them. For the most part it is safe assume that all the materials listed above in italics can be recycled unless other wise stated on the bin.
Composting is essentially nature’s form of recycling. It is the process used to turn organic waste such as fruits, vegetables, kitchen scrapes, paper towels, leaves, yard clippings, meat and dairy-free food waste, etc. into nutrient rich soil. Composting bins are not as frequently found in public as recycling or trash bins, but can be found at many well adapted locations such as the Seattle airport or some high school or college dining halls. Composting is something that can even be done at home. I am in the process of writing a post about composting from home and creating a corresponding video for your connivence.
TerraCycling is less common in the public, but can also be easily brought into a school, work place, or home. The TerraCycling process creates solutions for hard to recycle materials and had programs like collecting aluminum from chip bags. TerraCycling can also include recycling elastic plastic such as bread bags, ziplock bags, plastic grocery bags, etc. The website is linked at the end of this article for more information.
K-Cup Recycling is provided by a program similar to terra-cycling, which can be added into sustainability programs at schools, work places, and homes. The website is linked in the end of the article following the Terra-cycling link.
Trash should be the last resort when it comes to disposing one’s waste. There are very few things people use on a daily basis that can not be composted or recycled such as plastic straws, meat, dairy, plastic wrapping, etc.
K-Cup Recycling Information-