We have 3 recycling bins – as big as large rolling trash cans – at our apartment complex. There are 3 sets of these located next to each dumpster area for about 100 units. That’s a pretty good ratio. The bins are clearly labeled:
- Mixed paper (does not include newspaper, laminated paper, or cardboard)
- Newspaper (does not include cardboard, laminated paper)
- Bottles and Cans (PET 1-7, includes glass bottles)
Pretty straightforward, no? And the fact that it can do PET 1-7 is impressive. Lots of places can only do PET 1-3 or 1-4.
Yet, this is what I saw this morning:
- Cardboard in both newspaper and especially in mixed paper (note that none of these allow cardboard)
- Plastic and glass bottles in plastic and paper bags in the bottles and cans bin (not sure if that’s allowed, but I at least bother to empty the bag out)
- Newspaper in the mixed paper bin
And I often see even worse dumping of the wrong types into the wrong containers.
Now, I’m sure that in all reality the recycling centers know this will happen and sort everything that comes in accordingly. They just hope that we stick to some kind of system. But it never ceases to amaze me how wildly off the placement of all that stuff is. I try to breakdown cardboard to go by the dumpsters (where it says “Cardboard here, please breakdown any boxes”) but even when I’m lazy I at least put it there.