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How to recycle at the University of Kentucky

A recycling bin sits inside the Gatton Student Center on Monday, Feb. 13, 2023, at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Travis Fannon | Kentucky Kernel Staff.

The University of Kentucky is a school with over 30,000 students and 13,000 employees. A school with that many people is bound to create a significant amount of trash and other waste.

Fortunately, UK offers a recycling service to students, faculty and staff. Unfortunately, many people are not educated on what is or is not recyclable.

According to an article from RecycleNation, when something that is not recyclable is put into a recycling bin, it contaminates the rest of the items. This usually means that the whole bin ends up in the landfill.

The best way to prevent this contamination is to educate yourself on what items are recyclable in your community. Keep in mind, this list changes with your location.

UK offers a comprehensive recycling program. This means that all recyclables can be placed in one container, no cleaning or separation required.

Their facilities website states that the recycling program strives to reduce campus waste with outstanding service and excellent education.

Regrettably, some students lack “excellent education” when it comes to knowing what can be recycled on campus.

“I was definitely unaware my freshman year that the recycling bins were even actually used as recycling and what was allowed inside of them,” UK junior Becca Miner said.

Information on what is recyclable at UK is easy to find. Their facilities website offers multiple graphics specifically made to inform, but many people don’t understand the importance of the information.

They currently accept cardboard/boxboard, aluminum/steel, plastic, glass and paper. While that seems like it could be anything, there are specific conditions within each of those categories.

For example, you can recycle plastic cups, but you cannot recycle straws. You can recycle paper, but not paper towels or napkins.

Recycling bins can be found in various spaces throughout campus. In addition to the smaller bins outside and in classroom buildings, there are larger containers found outside residence halls.

While recycling is a great way for people to do their part for the environment, it is not something to be relied on in the long run.

The idea that recycling single-use plastic is a sustainable way to avoid filling up landfills is not true. The best way to do this is to reduce your consumption.

For more information on the recycling program at UK, you can visit their website.


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