It’s hard to believe there was ever a time at Knox when recycling wasn’t a common practice. On campus today, it is a rare occurrence to see a landfill bin that isn’t accompanied by a recycling receptacle at its side. It wasn’t until the 90s however that recycling began at Knox, and it was the result of student persistence that it was instituted at all. Early Knox environmental clubs like KARES (Knox Advocates for Recycling and Environmental Sustainability) were instrumental in beginning the recycling program, and at the time they were the ones in charge of maintaining it. Now Knox has folded the recycling program in with the everyday maintenance of campus, and thanks to encouragement by students, the assistance of the Facilities Services Office, and the outreach done by the Office of Sustainability, recycling at Knox has expanded to what it is today. Here is everything you need to know about all the recycling options available to you at Knox!
Changing the Mindset
Before we go into all the different recycling options on campus, it’s nice to first realize the importance of changing the mindset about “trash.” Several years ago Knox changed the labels of all the waste disposal stations on campus to Landfill as opposed to Garbage or Trash. While this may seem like only a small change, it actually makes a big difference. Just the initial word “landfill” brings up rather unpleasant thoughts to those disposing waste, which is important in making one think twice about what they are throwing “away.” Just one word change can have a positive impact of bringing an entire mindset change to a community about trash; because after all, there really is no “away.”
What can actually be recycled by our facilities?
While it is easy to think that any and all plastics and paper products are recyclables, this is not the case. Often it depends on the market or a specific recycling vendor, so not all items are recyclable everywhere. It is important to not ask “is this recyclable,” but “is this recyclable at Knox.” Simple things like cardboard pizza boxes and orange juice cartons may seem like perfectly practical things to be recycled, are actually not. Pizza boxes are most often covered in food and grease, damaging the quality of the paper and cartons that hold things like juice or almond milk, due to the wax coatings on the inside, are considered composite materials (or a mix of more than one material). When it comes to plastic products you always need to make sure to look for the recycling triangle on the side or bottom. Each number represents a different type of plastic. Knox’s recycling vendor only accepts numbers 1-5 and 7. You can stay updated on what can be recycled at Knox by visiting www.knox.edu/recycling. The Sustainability Office is grateful that you are doing your part by recycling, and are even more grateful when you do so correctly!
In addition to the common recycled items, there are even more opportunities to recycle on campus thanks to the Terracycle brigades that the Sustainability Office belongs to. We can also earn a bit of money by recycling these non-traditional items, so you are helping to support the Office of Sustainability in addition to keeping more items out of the landfill.
Here are the items you can bring to the dropoff locations on campus (locations displayed in the map below).
Air Care Recycling
All brands of air freshener cartridges, plugs, packaging, trigger heads, and aerosol containers are accepted in this brigade.
Bear Naked Recycling
This program is brand specific to ‘Bare Naked’ products.
Snack Wrapper Recycling
Any foil lined packaging, plastic granola bars, and snack pouches accepted.
Personal Care/Beauty Products
All brands of hair care, skincare, and cosmetic packaging accepted in this program. Please Note: aerosol cans, nail polish bottles and nail polish remover bottles ARE NOT acceptable.
PUR and Brita Recycling
This recycling program is brand- specific. Only “PUR” and “Brita” filters, pitchers, filtration systems, and packaging accepted.
Oral Care and Deodorant Recycling
You may collect any brand of toothbrushes, toothpastes, mouthwashes, deodorants, floss containers and packaging for this recycling program.
We hoped this helped clarify more about the many recycling options for you at Knox! Also remember that if you have any recycling questions you can always stop by the Sustainability Office or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.