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Center for Sustainability Urges Smart Recycling

September 12, 2019

This week, the Center for Sustainability will roll out new signs around campus educating the community on how to practice smart recycling.

A chart that displays items that can and cannot be recycled. A user-friendly list can be found at

New guidelines through Monroe County have changed the items that can be recycled on campus. Dr. Mike Boller, director of the Center, says the biggest change is that most of the single-use plastics for food and drinks are not recyclable (think grab-n-go and iced coffee cups, forks, and straws).

The only plastics that are now commercially recycled are bottles, jars, jugs, and dairy tubs.  As always, he says recyclables should be clean and only contain residual liquids (no half-full water bottles).

“The bottom line is that, as a community, we were not recycling correctly. We need to make sure that the recycling is clean and sorted properly,” he said. “Unfortunately, some things that we thought we could recycle just weren't working in the system and now we have to put them in the trash. The real solution is for us to reduce the amount of plastics that we use, especially ones that we can easily avoid with reusable alternatives.”

His advice: if you want to reduce landfill waste, choose to avoid throw-away plastics. Instead, use a travel mug, refillable water bottle, and/or get a set of travel utensils.

Learn more about Monroe County’s recycling program at