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Why is it important?

Do your residents know what they can and can’t recycle on campus? Do they know where to recycle things on campus? Do they know what happens to the recycling when it leaves campus? These are all examples of questions that can teach your residents about recycling correctly! By recycling correctly, we can assure that more materials actually get recycled and lessen the costs associated with recycling.

What can we recycle on campus?

In the Blue Recycling Bins:

  • Plastic bottles with caps on
  • Glass bottles
  • #2, #4, and #5 plastic tubs
  • Aluminum and steel cans
  • Mixed paper and cardboard

Blue Recycling Bins

In the Student Union:

  • NiCad batteries
  • Alkaline batteries
  • Cell phone batteries
  • Cell phones (e-waste compartment)
  • Personal computer equipment and peripherals (e-waste compartment)
  • Plastic Film

In Your Community Office:

  • Plastic bags and film labeled #2 and #4, including:
    • Plastic grocery bags from retail, newspaper, dry cleaning, bread, and produce
    • Product packaging wrap from paper towels, water bottles, etc.
    • Furniture and electronic packaging wrap, as well as plastic shipping envelopes and bubble wrap
    • Zip-close food storage bags (NOT frozen food bags)
  • Printer cartridges (inkjet & laser toner)
  • Batteries
  • Light bulbs

What are some common contaminants in our recycling on campus?

Common Contaminants: NEVER in blue (recycling) bins:

  • To-go coffee cups and lids
  • Straws
  • Silverware
  • Paper towels, napkins and tissues
  • Candy and snack wrappers
  • Condiment packets
  • K-cups
  • Plastic grocery bags
  • Plastic to-go boxes (clamshells)
  • Shrink wrap
  • Solo cups
  • Plant-based or compostable plastics (PLA)
  • Clothing/Shoes
  • Styrofoam

Why is recycling important?

  • Supports over 18,000 private-sector jobs in North Carolina
  • Reduces the need for landfilling and incineration
  • Prevents pollution caused by the manufacturing of products from virgin materials
  • Saves energy
  • Decreases emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change
  • Conserves natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals
  • Helps sustain the environment for future generations

Recycling Facts

  • UNC-Chapel Hill fills enough trash dumpsters to line Cameron Avenue, Chapel Hill, every 106 days.
  • North Carolinians recycle 85.4 pounds of materials a second. That’s impressive! But we throw away over 752 pounds of trash a second. That’s almost nine times what we recycle.
  • Recycling one ton of aluminum cans saves the equivalent of 1,665 gallons of gasoline.
  • By producing a ton of paper from recycled materials, energy consumption is cut in half and 17 trees are saved.
  • Only seven percent of the total plastic waste generated in 2009 was recovered for recycling.

What could your program look like?

  • Set up a recycling shootout where residents toss recyclables into their appropriate bins. You could include some non-recyclables to test your residents’ knowledge!
  • Hold a recycling scavenger hunt! Have your residents visit the different types of recycling bins we have on campus.
  • Create an educational bulletin board in your hall made from recycled materials!

Links to more Information

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