Saturday, January 31, 2015

4th Week

Andrew Woosnam poses as the cover of Cosmo Mag, found in the landfill.
We found a one-pound chocolate bar today.

A romantic combination: peanut brittle and roses
Glass handles in the landfill. Glass is recyclable

Cardboard in the landfill. Cardboard is recyclable.

Aluminum cans and plastic in the compost bin. Aluminum is recyclable. Plastic films are landfill.

Halloween pumpkin carving kit, and gross novelty candy.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

1st Through 3rd Week

This is what we like to see: compost!

A compostable bag full of recyclable items, inside the landfill.

Cardboard in the landfill. Send it to be recycled—deposit cardboard in the blue bins.

More cardboard in the landfill. We think the relative sizing of the bins influences people to make decisions like this. Because boxes are often too big to fit into the "slim jims," the narrow rectangular recycling bins, people decide to chuck them in the landfill bins, which are much larger and more accommodating to large bulky items. Please break down your cardboard to fit it inside the proper receptacle. In the meantime, we will work to get the sizes of these bins set to more accurately reflect the volume of material that they should be receiving.

Andrew Woosnam

Pizza on its way to the landfill.

Pizza boxes are COMPOSTABLE. Here they have been found in the landfill bin.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What Happens to Campus Recyclables?

Here on the blog, we talk a lot about what happens with the landfill portion of Carleton's waste stream, but we also care about what happens to recyclables! Lucky for us on campus, Carleton has a single-stream recycling system. That makes our job easy--we don't have to sort out different kinds of recyclables. Plastics, paper products glass, and aluminum cans can all go into the same bin. But these materials are very different, and can't actually be recycled together. That means they all have to get sorted out somewhere down the line. At Carleton, all of our single-stream recyclables get sent to a sorting facility similar to this (which is actually super cool):

What does this mean for students? Even though we monitors look mostly at contaminants in landfill bins, we see a lot of things end up in recycling that shouldn't be there, too. For recycling, the most common things that aren't recyclable that we still see in the bins are plastic bags and wrappers. PLEASE don't put plastic bags and wrappers in the recycling bin! It just makes it harder to get everything sorted at the Material Recovery Facility like the one shown in the video, and if a contaminant gets missed all of what we send in might have to be thrown away. Make sorting recyclables easier; properly sort plastic bags and wrappers into the landfill!

Interested in seeing an MRF like this one? Join the tour 7th week for Climate Action Week!