Grey Versus Blue: What is and What isn’t Recyclable at Miami University

Photo courtesy of Allyson Ernst
Photo courtesy of Allyson Ernst

We’ve all see the different colored trash cans around campus. They seem to line the walls in every dining hall, classroom and residents hall. The grey one is for trash and the blue one is for recyclables, but what really belongs in one versus the other?

Let’s start off with what we do know.

Rumpke is one of the landfills and recycling centers that Miami University’s trash goes to every year. Rumpke will take most of the things we think about when we hear the word “recyclable.” These include items made of paper, cardboard, glass, metal and plastic.

Not everything that is made of these materials is recyclable, though.

That pepperoni pizza you had for lunch may have been tasty, but the box it came in, and the napkin you used to wipe your chin aren’t recyclable. You may think because they are made of paper products they would be, but according to Rumpke because it came into contact with food, it is contaminated and cannot be recycled.

Other paper items that cannot be recycled by Rumpke include used paper plates and cups, candy wrappers, and last semester’s textbooks. All belong in the grey bins.

According to Miami’s Physical Facilities, all plastics, regardless of the number stamped on the bottom are recyclable and belong in the blue bins. That includes laundry detergent jugs, soda bottles, shampoo bottles, milk jugs, water bottles and even used up bottles of contact solution. That being said, things like plastic bags, plastic utensils or yesterday’s microwave meal tray, and those packing peanuts that came in that box from home are a no-go at the recycling center and should be disposed of in the grey bins.

Soda and food cans made of aluminum or steel are welcome down at Rumpke, but that metal coat hanger you broke while hang up your clothes the other day is not. Same is true for the bit of scrap metal that broke off you chair last night while you studied, both belong in a grey bin.

Most of the glass you would find on campus is recyclable, including bottles and jars of all colors. One of the few exceptions to this would be mirrors. Not only do you have 7 years of bad luck for breaking it, but you can’t even put it in a blue bin according to Miami’s list of what is recyclable.

So the next time you have a used napkin in you your hand or an empty soda bottle, think to yourself, where does it really belong? Grey or Blue?

Written by: Allyson Ernst

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