That’s right, the end of the semester is coming up. Although you’re swamped with work now, before you know it you’ll be scrambling to shove the entire contents of your room into boxes and debating whether you really need to take home that singing hamster figurine. Not to mention the throw pillows, broken lamp, and piles of winter clothes you haven’t worn in months.
So the recycling reps are sending out a friendly reminder to start thinking about moveout NOW! That is, if you don’t want your stuff to end up here:
If you’ve ever been at Smith for reunion, you’ve probably seen the dumpsters overflowing with discarded furniture, books, mattress pads, pretty much anything you can think of. The amount of perfectly good objects thrown away is just mind-blowing. Don’t let that happen to you – take or send things home, use your house’s trunk room, or think about renting a summer storage space if you need to. The free box is a good way to get rid of stuff you no longer need – everything in it will be donated at the end of the year.
Oh, and one more thing – don’t forget to recycle, especially your batteries and fluorescent lightbulbs!
If you have any questions, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org!
Did you know? At Smith we do not recycle paperboard.
What is paperboard? Cereal boxes, shoeboxes, pasta boxes, tampon boxes. I think you get the gist.
Why isn’t it recyclable? Well, every time paper is recycled the fibers get a little shorter. In order to have profitable recycling, the fibers need to be long enough to be turned into something else. In paperboard, the fibers are fairly short, meaning they can’t be recycled into many products. At Smith, we don’t recycle paperboard at all.
But it’s recyclable in my hometown! I know, I know, it’s confusing. Some recycling plants accept paperboard, some don’t. Demand for recyclables changes too, so even a place where you used to be able to recycle paperboard may not accept it anymore.
If you’re on the meal plan, you’ve probably seen these disposable paper cups before, labeled “Ecotainers.”
But have you ever wondered what makes them so “eco-friendly,” as the name implies? According to the website of International Paper, the company that makes them, the lining of Ecotainer cups is a plastic made from plants, rather than from petroleum like typical paper cup linings. This means that less petroleum goes into the making of these cups. It also means that the cups are, theoretically, recyclable and compostable. But before you get excited about tossing these cups in the recycling, keep reading. Few recycling plants accept this kind of product (paper with a plastic lining), and the cups are only compostable in managed municipal composting sites. In short, the only way to dispose of these cups at Smith is to throw them away.
So, here’s the scoop on the eco-cups: Made from trees, lined with plant-plastic, get thrown away in the trash.
Here in Massachusetts you can redeem your single serving soda and beer bottles/ cans for 5 cents a piece. This is because Massachusetts has a bottle bill. When you buy a soda or beer bottle in Massachusetts you pay a 5 cent deposit on each can/ bottle as an incentive to bring it back for recycling. Studies have shown that bottles and cans with deposits are much more frequently recycled than those without them (namely water and tea bottles.) Therefore, the Governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, is proposing to introduce a new bottle bill that would EXPAND redeemables to single serving non carbonated beverages such as water, tea, and juice bottles! This bill, if passed, would be a BIG WIN for recycling since currently less than 30% of potential recycleables actually get recycled; the rest end up in landfills. Plus, water bottles are so abundant in the waste stream. Giving a monetary incentive to recycle a wider array of containers makes sense to us.
RecycleMania ends this Friday, so keep reducing, reusing, and recycling! In other news, we’ll be tabling tomorrow (Friday, 3/27) in the Campus Center, so stop by!
Starting last week, we’ll be tracking how much each house recycles each week for the rest of RecycleMania. The house with the highest per capita recycling rate, and the lowest incidence of contamination will win a prize (to be determined)! So remember to recycle all you can, and make sure to keep out anything that’s not recyclable!
As you might know, RecycleMania is a 10-week competition between colleges and universities to encourage recycling and reduce waste. So how is Smith doing, you may ask? Facilities has been tracking the weight of our garbage each week, and here are the results for the past couple of weeks:
The week of Feb 8 – Feb 15 we generated 31,840 pounds of trash, down nearly 1 ton from the week before that! The week of Feb 16 – Feb 21 we generated 31,520 pounds.
Let’s try to generate even less trash! What can you do?
- Buy products with less packaging
- use a reusable mug instead of paper coffee cups
- avoid food waste in the dining halls
- don’t get grab-and-go meals
These are just a few suggestions. Keep checking the blog for more!
How many flyers do you get in your mailbox every day? And how many do you actually read?
As part of our goal to reduce waste on campus, we are evaluating how effective campus mailings (flyers, announcements, etc.) are. We could eliminate a lot of paper waste if departments and orgs sent out fewer mailings. For example, a couple of weeks ago we went through the recycling bin by the mailboxes and found over 500 performance calendars (big, two-page pamphlets) and 300-some mailings from the art museum about their latest exhibit. We want to determine if students are actually reading the flyers in their mailboxes, and if there are more effective ways of getting information out there, such as the eDigest.
If you are a Smith student, please take the time to fill out this short survey on where you find out about campus events. It will only take a minute! Here’s the link:
Thank you, and happy recycling/reusing/waste reducing!
Today Audrey and I went through several people’s trash in Talbot house to see what people are throwing away and what we should focus our waste-reduction efforts on. What we found was that most of people’s trash was packaging (mostly food packaging, including grab-and-go containers), as well as tissues and napkins. In the public garbage area we found a few bags that were nearly all food packaging, including plastic clamshells, chip bags, yogurt containers, wax bags and pizza containers. Here are some photos of what we found:
Last Thursday the recycling reps held a recycled valentine-making workshop. It was well-attended and creativity abounded. Keep an eye out for recycled jewelry-making in March!