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USU Recycling Center

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FAQ

How does recycling help me as a student at USU?

There are a number of benefits you receive:

  • The University saves money. This can translate into more money for student
    needs, such as space, housing improvements, etc.
  • School pride: we also enter a national competition with other schools for per-
    capita recycling rates. Our basketball team did well last year...continue the
    tradition in the realm of recycling!
  • Most importantly, you're forming habits that will benefit you in the future.
    Municipalities are increasingly using financial incentives for recycling. If you
    teach yourself to recycle now, you'll save yourself money in the future. On a
    larger scale, your world will be cleaner and healthier the fewer resources you
    use now. Think in the aggregate.

Where do USU’s recyclables and trash go?

Trash goes to the Logan Landfill, which is nearing capacity. Recyclables go to the
nearest, highest bidder. At the Recycling Center at USU we separate and compact the
paper, cardboard, plastics, aluminum, glass, tin-coated steel cans, rigid styrofoam etc.
and prepare them for shipment. Mixed paper goes to a company in Hyrum , Utah that
uses it for insulation, glass goes to a company here in Logan , Utah that puts it into
floor tile, and white paper etc may be shipped as far away as Japan for recycling.

How important is it that I prepare recyclables correctly? Doesn't this take
a really long time?

It is extremely important to prepare items correctly before placing them in recycling
bins. This means:

Flatten boxes. If you don't, they will probably be thrown away.

  • Clean out obvious food residue from plastics and cans (such as a soup can).
    You do not have to rinse out drink bottles; sugary soda residue is acceptable!
  • Remove bottle caps (so that residue can evaporate and not add weight and
    mess and jam compactors).

Custodians cannot take the time to separate dirty containers, remove pizza boxes, or
flatten other boxes. Please take a few extra seconds and move any items
inappropriately placed in the recycling bin to the trash - this will earn you major points
from the recycling fairy!

Can I recycle envelopes with the plastic windows? What about staples?
And spiral notebooks? Glossy advertisements? Magazines? Post-its?

You'll like the answer to this one; all of these items are fine to toss into the "Paper"
recycling bin. In the recycling process, all paper, even the glossy, is converted to pulp,
and all non-natural fibers such as metal will be strained out. So don't waste your time
removing staples, or plastic windows, but removing spiral bindings helps!

Do I really have to separate paper into “Mixed” and “White?”

No. However, the more you separate at the source, the easier it is to separate later,
even if they go into the same bin when they are picked up. At the Recycling Center we
separate everything anyway, so separating it perfectly on your part isn’t necessary.

What do I do with bottle caps?

Before tossing your bottle into the recycling bin, be sure to remove the cap and throw
it away, as it is a different type of material than the rest of the container (either glass or
plastic). Please also empty all liquids from the container before placing it in the bin.
Extra liquid causes a number of problems: it adds weight, which adds to the energy
(and fossil fuel emissions) necessary to transport the recyclables; it creates a mess and
causes injuries in the recycling plant.

Can I recycle paper with tape on it?

It's OK to leave tape on paper; however, it does gum up machines and reduce the
efficiency of recycling. Try to remove obvious tape from papers and posters before
recycling...but again, don't waste your time scraping tape off of paper!

Do I have to separate glass, plastic, and aluminum?

On campus, No. You can put anything that you call a bottle or can into the same
"Beverage Container" recycling bin. If you bring recyclables to the drop-off areas,
each type of material has its own spot, so kindly sort. If you don’t though, we’ll sort
through it at the Recycling Center .

Do I have to worry about labels?

No. You can leave labels on bottles and cans!

What if I don't have a recycling bin?

Most importantly, you don't need a "recycling" bin to recycle. Any container will work
-- a small trashcan, a box, a paper bag for paper -- be creative! However, keep in
mind that here at USU we may be able to get you a bin; let your RA know or call
797-2011. By the end of 2005 each apartment on campus should also be outfitted
with brand new recycling bins!

What can I do with packing peanuts?

Call the Peanut Hotline (Yes, there is a peanut hotline) at 1-800-828-2214 for a list
of area businesses such as Mailboxes Etc. which accept plastic loose fill or packaging
peanuts for reuse. The DHIA here on campus is also interested in such materials for
shipping. You may want to contact them.

Can I recycle pizza boxes?

Yes, Just make sure that all food items have been completely removed.

Can I recycle any plastic that has a recycling sign and number on it?

Right now, the infrastructure doesn't exist to recycle plastics #3-7 at USU, but all
plastics #1-7 are recyclable in Logan ’s Curbside Programs. Use the rule that anything
that is a bottle or can goes into the bin. Hopefully, we'll soon be able to recycle
anything with a number. Be sure to check with your local recycling program when you
leave USU!

How can I get rid of junk mail once and for all?

Call 1-888-5-OPTOUT to stop credit card offers or go to www.optoutprescreen.com
and fill out the simple form there.

For unwanted contribution pleas and catalogues, make a few simple phone calls or
emails and ask to be taken off of mailing lists. To limit your exposure, write "Please do
not rent or sell my name" or "No mailing lists" next to your name whenever you order
products by mail, enter a contest, subscribe to a magazine, send in a warranty card, or
otherwise give your name and address to a company or organization. (Also consider
not sending in the warranty card for a new product - it's usually not required.)

One effective way to remove your name from national mailing lists is to write the
Direct Marketing Association and register with their Mail Preference Service - an
indication that you do not want to be contacted by solicitors. In a letter or 3 1/2 x 5"
postcard, include the date, your name, address and signature, and write "Please
register my name with the Mail Preference Service." (The term "Mail Preference
Service" may sound confusing, but rest assured, registration with MPS is what you do
to get off of the mailing lists.) This actually works. Marketers do not want to waste
their efforts on people who have explicitly stated they are not interested. Mail to:

Mail Preference Service, Attn: Dept: 6386627
Direct Marketing Association
P.O. Box 282
Carmel , NY 10512

What should I do with my laundry detergent bottle?

Recycle it! Just take the cap off! USU takes plastics #1 and #2 colored and clear,
and Logan ’s Curbside Program takes plastics #1 through #7.

What do I do with plastic bags?

There is no universal system for plastic bag recycling; that's why you should really
make an effort to prevent the production and use of bags by carrying a re-usable bag
or backpack. However, with those bags you do have, try to reuse them. They make
great small trash can liners! If your bags are grocery bags from a store with a bag
recycling program, like Maceys, Lees, or Walmart, you can take them back to the
store from which they came. It differs store to store, but most grocery stores sell their
used bags to be made into plastic lumber (the company is called Trex), which is made
from plastic and sawdust. Plastic bags cannot be recycled with cans and bottles as they
are difficult to handle in transport and jam conveyor belts.

Can I recycle batteries? Why should I?

You should recycle batteries because they contain toxic chemicals; if placed in a
landfill, they could contaminate groundwater and soil. You can absolutely recycle
them here. There should be a battery receptacle in each major building on campus
and yellow buckets in both major drop-off areas at USU. You can check our campus
recycling map to make sure. Or, if you're still not sure where to find a receptacle, call
797-2011.

Should I buy rechargeable batteries?

Rechargeable batteries contain even more toxic materials (heavy metals) than standard
batteries, so if you use them, make 100% sure you dispose of them properly- not in
the trash. Rechargeable batteries you use from day to day like those in your cell phone
or laptop, as well as rechargeable appliances like phones and Dustbusters should not
be thrown in the trash. Recycle them! In each of the major buildings on campus you
can recycle batteries or there is a yellow bucket in both of the drop-off areas for USU
in which you can place your batteries.

What should I do with my old cell phone?

There are a variety of charities that not only safely dispose of old phones, but actually
put them to very good use. Go to www.collectivegood.com to decide where to send
your phone!

Can I recycle my computer/printer at USU?

Yes, E-waste is recyclable, but we do not have the means to take it for you. See if the manufacturer or store from which you purchased your equipment participates in take-back or trade-in programs, Logan City Landfill will also take it and make sure that the dangerous components are not put in the landfill.

If it is a USU Computer/Printer, you can call Surplus at 797-2083 to arrange for pick-up of computers and other components you wish have sold or recycled.

How do I buy recycled?

The key to buying recycled products is reading labels. You must look for the
trademark arrows of the recycling symbol, but that doesn't always mean the product
is made from recycled material; it may simply mean the product is technically
recyclable (sometimes, only if the product is returned in perfect condition to the
manufacturer!). What you really must check is the ingredient list: you want to see the
percent of post-consumer content. Many paper products promote themselves as
recycled, but come from industrial surplus (called pre-consumer) that would be
recycled anyway. Post-consumer means that another person has already used the
material and it is being recycled to you—so that you can use and then recycle it, of
course!

What is the process of recycling like in general?

There are three basic steps in the life of your recyclables: manufacturing, consumption
and recovery. All three must occur before recycling is complete. Buy efficiently and
buy recycled! Recovery occurs when recyclables are separated from discards; putting
paper into a recycling bin is the first step in this process.

--At Materials Recovery Facilities, or MRFs, recyclables are sorted in preparation for
processing. Magnets and air are used to divide up metals and light items. Employees
separate out other items (so be kind and rinse your food containers). Mechanical
sorters that use optics to identify different kinds of paper and puffs of air to sort it are
also now being developed. This entire separation step may seem inefficient, but
transportation and collection can be more efficient when separation is postponed; it's
also easier to get people to recycle when they can throw everything together.

--At Processing Plants, sorted items are converted into usable material. Plastics get
shredded. Different types have different specific gravities, so they will float/sink to
different degrees and can then be separated. Paper is soaked in water. In the recycling
process, plastic envelope bits float up and magnets remove staples. A large chain is
rotated in the vat of paper goo, and tape remnants adhere to the chain for removal.

What is the recycling process like at USU?

First, recyclables are taken to the Recycling Center and are separated by
students/employees into each of their respective types: Magazine Paper, White Paper,
Colored and Newsprint Paper, White Shredded Paper, Colored Shredded Paper,
Cardstock, Corrugated Cardboard, Aluminum, Clear Glass, Green Glass, Brown
Glass, #1 Plastic, #2 Clear Plastic, #2 Colored Plastic, Tin-Coated Steel Cans,
Batteries, Rigid Styrofoam, and Wooden Pallets. Each of these separated materials
occupies its own respected space in the recycling center or nearby storage areas.

Next, when enough of one type of material has been collected to fill the baler, the
materials are put into the baler which compacts and forms the material into a bale
about 2’ x 2’ x 4’. One such bale of paper typically weighs over 1000 lbs. In the case
of glass,

At the end of each year USU Recycling employees put glass bottles on a conveyor belt
that feeds into huge crusher. The glass is then sent to a company here in Logan that
melts it, colors it, and uses it in floor tile.

Once again, the bales of different materials sit in their respective place, and generally
once a year (when there is enough to fill a semi-trailer) the materials are sold to the
highest bidder.

From there, different companies do different things with different materials, but some of
the processes are explained in previous questions.

Does stuff put in recycling bins get thrown away?

Unfortunately, sometimes it does if it is contaminated. Even a tiny piece of food can
send an entire bin of recycling to the dump. In addition, the international commodities
markets do fluctuate, sometimes making simple dumping less costly than recycling. This
is rare, however, and if you buy recycled, the demand for the recyclables will increase.
You're not really recycling unless you buy recycled products!

What are the top three simple steps I can take to reduce land filled waste and improve recycling at USU?

Reuse and recycle your paper. Currently, as much or more paper is thrown away at
USU than is recovered for recycling.

Don't buy things you don't really need and buy in bulk to reduce packaging.

Recycle all year round, not just during Recycle Mania or at the end of the semester.

Recycling a ton of the following materials saves the stated quantities of energy:

Aluminum cans: 185 million btu/ton
LDPE: 24.1 million btu/ton
Plastic #1 (PETE): 22.2 million btu/ton
Mixed plastics: 20.5 million btu/ton
Steel cans: 20 million btu/ton
Plastic #2 (HDPE): 19 million btu/ton
Newspapers: 16.5 million btu/ton
Corrugated cardboard: 13 million btu/ton
Office paper: 10.1 million btu/ton
Mixed paper: 6.7 million btu/ton
Glass bottles: 2.1 million btu/ton

*Note: There are 5.8 million British thermal units (Btu) in a barrel of oil and 0.125
million Btu in a gallon of gasoline.