Recycling can be confusing, so we want to simplify it for you and suggest you go Back to Basics. Focus your effort on always recycling office paper, cardboard, aluminum cans, and glass and plastic bottles. Items like plastic Starbucks cups and dirty food containers contaminate the recycling stream and aren't valuable in the recycling market. Plus, the positive environmental impact of always recycling these basic items far outweighs the benefit of recycling miscellaneous plastic. And remember all the plastic cups and containers and paper coffee cups sold on the Homewood campus are compostable, so do not put them in the recycling bin.
This is also important because in January 2018, China, where most of our recycling was sent, began enforcing its recyclable scrap material import ban. Since then the local, national, and international recycling industries have been grappling with a surplus of recyclable materials with nowhere to send them. China enacted this ban for two reasons: (1) China's population has grown so large that it already creates enough recyclable material to feed its manufacturing plants and (2) the recyclable scrap materials that we have been sending China have been highly contaminated.
Locally, we have received feedback that our recycling collection from campus is highly contaminated. Help prevent recycling contamination by sorting your waste properly! See #RecycleSmart for more details.