What can I do to help SU address its current recycling crisis?

February 7, 2019

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(Excerpted from Feb. 7 Official Communication)

Recent changes in the recycling industry are affecting communities across the U.S., including Seattle and in turn our university. For almost two decades, China accepted more than 50 percent of the world’s exported recyclables, but as of July 2017, has implemented new regulations that ban the import of low-grade and contaminated recyclables, many of which once came from the U.S. A recent audit of our campus recycling has concluded that well over 10 percent of the items in our blue bins belong in the garbage or compost, but instead are contaminating the rest of our recyclables. If we do not improve our recycling practices by Feb. 21, Seattle University’s recycling will no longer be accepted by our recycling service, and will instead be sent directly to the landfill at great expense. 

The major contaminators that are consistently being found are: Styrofoam, plastic films and bags, food waste, liquids, clothing, and electronics. These items cannot be placed in the blue bin, but instead should be trashed, composted or recycled separately through one of the many innovative specialty programs on campus. It is up to all of us to think before we throw and to educate those around us to clean up our recycling stream. We are asking the entire Seattle University community to make improvements as soon as possible. Here is how to help: 

  • Put the right stuff in the right bins. Use this “Where does it go flyer” to help you.
  • Make sure all recyclables are reasonably EMPTY, CLEAN and DRY
  • Do NOT recycle Styrofoam, plastic films, food waste, liquids, e-waste or textiles in the blue bin.
  • Check out the media toolkit at www.seattleu.edu/zerowaste for digital and printable signage to use in your office, kitchen, residence hall, collegium, bulletin boards, etc. to SPREAD THE WORD ON CAMPUS!
  • Participate in the many events organized on campus during the 8-week long Recyclemania tournament (Feb. 3-March 30).
  • Contact Richard Moyer, resource conservation manager, at moyerrichard@seattleu.edu with any questions or suggestions.