Waste Reduction Team Update

The Waste Reduction Team has been sorting garbage out of the recycling for almost two semesters now. There are currently five students on the team, and at least one member is sorting garbage out of the recycling every day. We have had a good volume of recycling from the campus community, but we can always handle more, so don’t be afraid to wash out those plastic food containers and add those to your recycling.

Over the course of the past semester, we have found some very strange things in some of the recycling bags we have received from both resident halls and other buildings on campus. One of our most recent discoveries was a dead squirrel in a pizza box, which is most definitely not recyclable. Other than this very unique find, we have also been coming across many half full coffee cups in the recycling. These coffee cups are not recyclable with coffee still in them, and the coffee is also soaking all of the paper in these bags. Throwing your half full coffee cups in these zero-sort bags makes it so we cannot recycle most of the contents within these bags. Also, plastic water bottles that still contain water should be poured out before placing them in the recycling bin.

Now that the Waste Reduction Team is enduring colder temperatures, it would make our job much more efficient if you could only use blue bags to put your recycling in from your resident hall. We have been sorting through all bags that are put in dorm recycling bins due to the fact that some people are not using only blue bags for recycling. As you could imagine we have found some pretty repulsive stuff searching through bags that appear to be recycling but are actually trash.  We would like to kindly ask you to please make sure that what you are putting in the recycling bin is actually recyclable and will not ruin the ability to recycle whatever else may be in the recycling. Thank you!

From Waste Reduction Team Member, Tom Szabo

New Waste Reduction Team!

Recently, the Center for Campus Sustainability has hired four students as part of a new Waste Reduction Team: Zoe Plant, Grace Seltzer, Thomas Szabo, and Julie Hogan. As part of their duties, they will be assessing our current recycling and food waste systems, while developing and implementing a plan to collect and sort recycling and food waste for proper disposal. We look forward to improving our recycling and waste management efforts here at Paul Smith’s College with all of their great help!

Zero-Sort Recycling

There is a misconception on campus that we do not recycle, but we do! We have a zero-sort (Single Stream) recycling here at Paul Smith’s College. That means that all of the recycling can go in one blue bin, BUT WE HAVE TO SEPARATE TRASH AND RECYCLING.

If the central recycling dumpster is 10 % or more contaminated with non-recyclable material, then Casella Waste Services will have to throw out our entire dumpster of recycling. In order to prevent this, if our custodial workers see a recycling bin on campus that is contaminated, they will throw out the entire bag to stop it from contaminating the dumpster.

The system does not accept window glass, mirrors, light bulbs, dishes, Pyrex, ceramics, foam packaging, Styrofoam, plastic bags, recyclables that contain food waste, paint or oils, hazardous materials, or universal waste.

Plastic bags are recyclable, but they cause jams within our system, which is why we do not accept them. If you want to recycle your plastic bags, Tops Friendly Markets (located in Saranac Lake) can take them.

Recyclables that contain food waste is the main reason why many of the recycling bins become contaminated. You must rinse out all recyclable items thoroughly in order for the system to accept it.

If you are ever unsure if an item is recyclable or not, throw it in the garbage!