FAQ

Why Should I Recycle?

Why can't I recycle pizza boxes?

How do I recycle my plastic bags?

Where can I recycle electronic waste?

Do cans and bottles need to be rinsed out before being recycled?

Where does all the recycling go?

What do the numbers on plastic products mean?

How can I put an end to my unwanted junk mail?

How can I get a recycling bin?

Why should I recycle if our trash is being used to generate energy?

 

WHY SHOULD I RECYCLE?

Recycling is a simple way that you, as a consumer, can help preserve earth’s natural resources.
Making products with recycled material slows the depletion of non-renewable resources such as metal, oil and natural gas.

It takes less energy to make products with recycled materials than virgin materials.  For example, it takes 20 times more energy to make aluminum from bauxite ore than using recycled aluminum.  Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to power a computer for 3 hours.

Because most energy in the United States is generated by burning fossil fuels, using less energy means generating fewer greenhouse gases that cause climate change.

Recycling isn’t just good for the environment, it’s good for business.  By recycling you are supporting a growing industry in the United Sates.  Recycling protects and expands U.S. manufacturing jobs and increases 
U.S. competitiveness.

Recycling is incredibly easy - but make sure to learn how to recycle properly!

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WHY CAN'T I RECYCLE PIZZA BOXES?

In general, food is the worst contaminant for a recycling stream.  You can't recycle any type of paper (pizza boxes, paper plates, paper cups, etc) that have been contaminated with food (water is ok) because the grease from the pizza, food, etc. seeps into the paper or cardboard which makes it unrecyclable.  Water is used at the paper pulping plant to seperate the paper fibers so that they can be made into new paper, if oil or other food seeps into the paper it makes this separation process impossible. 

Take a look at your pizza box, paper plate, etc.  If the paper or cardboard is clean, go ahead and recycle it, if it's greasy or covered in food please put it in the trash.

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HOW DO I RECYCLE MY PLASTIC BAGS?

There is no plastic bag recycling on campus.  Major retailers such as Shaws and Target have recycling available in store.  When you are going shopping just make sure you take them with you!

It is important to recycle plastic bags because plastic bags are so pervasive.  Plastic doesn't biodegrade, it photodegrades meaning it slowly breaks down into smaller and smaller bits that can contaminate soils and waterways.  It never breaks down entirely and can poison animals. 

When one ton of plastic bags is reused or recycled it saves the equivalent of 11 barrels of oil! - Earth 911

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WHERE CAN I RECYCLE ELECTRONIC WASTE, SUCH AS BATTERIES AND CELL PHONES?

In 2010, Bentley’s Eco-Reps implemented an electronics recycling program for the Bentley campus. The electronics recycling program will allow students, faculty and staff to recycle a large variety of electronics, without having to pay for the shipping cost of doing so.

Electronics collected on campus are packaged in special tubs and boxes provided by Battery Solutions Inc. and are shipped to their facility for proper recycling.  

Electronics Recycling Bins are located:

  • By the Student Information desk in the Student Center
  • Downstairs in Morison by the Service Learning Office

Some local stores also collect electronics recyclables. For example Staples will give back $2 in Staples Rewards for every ink cartridge recycled. Check the Staples website for more information.

Check out the Electronics Recycling page for more information:

 

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DO CANS AND BOTTLES NEED TO BE RINSED OUT BEFORE BEING RECYCLED?

Yes - cans, bottles, shampoo containers, yogurt cups etc. should be rinsed or emptied thoroughly before being placed in a recycling bin. This is extremely important because one full soda can could leak onto all the other recyclables and deem the whole batch useless. Recyclables don't have to be spotless, its just important that they aren't going to leak everywhere.

If you're recycling on the go and rinsing your cans isn't an option - no worries just try to dump liquids if you can!

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WHERE DOES ALL OF THE RECYCLING GO?

The sorting machine takes advantage of the different properties of recyclable materials. For example, the magnetism of cans and the various weights of different plastics. To fully understand how the sorting machines works (MRF) watch this neat video!

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WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT NUMBERS IN THE RECYCLING SIGN ON MY PLASTICS?

There are seven different numbers that you find on the bottom of items made of plastic.  These numbers were created as a way to categorize and identify the different types of plastic according to their chemical make up.  Below is an explanation of each of the types of plastic 1-7.

#1 PET (POLYETHYLENE TEREPHTHALATE)

This type of plastic is found in: soft drink, water and beer bottles, peanut butter containers, salad dressings, microwavable food trays, etc. It is most common because it is inexpensive and lightweight. There is little risk of leakage from the breakdown of products.

Recycled into: Polar fleece, fiber, tote bags, furniture, new containers, carpet

#2 HDPE (HIGH DENSITY POLYETHYLENE)

This type of plastic is found in: milk jugs, bleach and detergent bottles, occasionally trash and shopping bags, cereal box liners. There is low risk of leakage and is a very versatile plastic; it can be recycled into many goods.

Recycled into: Laundry detergent bottles, pens, drainage pipe, floor tile, doghouses, picnic tables, fencing, lumber

#3 V (VINYL) OR PVC

This plastic can be found in: wire jacketing, medical equipment, clear food packaging, piping, shampoo bottles. This plastic is tough and is therefore commonly used in piping, siding on a house and similar applications. PVC contains chlorine which means that its manufacture can release highly dangerous dioxins. Burning PVC releases toxins and if you must cook with it, do not let the plastic touch the food! 

Recycled into: Desks, paneling, mudflaps, roadway gutters, speed bumps

 #4 LDPE (LOW DENSITY POLYETHYLENE)

This plastic can be found in: squeezable bottles, bread, dry cleaning and frozen food bags, clothing, furniture and carpeting. This plastic is found widespread because it is a flexible plastic with many applications

Recycled into: Compost bins, shipping envelopes, landscaping tiles, trash can liners and cans, floor tile

 #5 PP (POLYPROPYLENE)

This plastic is found in: yogurt containers, syrup bottles, ketchup bottles, medicine bottles, straws, bottle caps. Because of its high melting point it is often used for containers that deal with hotter liquids.

Recycled into: Signal lights, battery cables, brooms, brushes, auto battery cases, ice scrapers, bicycle racks, rakes, bins, pallets, trays, landscape borders

#6 PS (POLYSTYRENE)

This can be found in: disposable cups and plates, meat trays, egg cartons, Tylenol and aspirin bottles, clear CD cases, take-out containers. This is the plastic of which Styrofoam is made out of - it also makes many other foam or rigid products. There is some evidence that suggests that #6 plastic leaches potential toxins into foods. It is difficult to recycle.

Recycled into: Egg cartons, rules, foam packaging, insulation

#7 MISCELLANEOUS

This category contains all different types of plastic resins that cannot be categorized under any of the other numbers.  These plastics can be found in: three- and five-gallon water bottles, "bullet proof" material, sunglasses, DVDs, iPods and computer cases, signs and displays, certain food containers and nylon. Some are even made of plants and are compostable. The hard plastic that has caused a stir as of lately is known as "polycarbonate" and is found in hard plastics. It has shown to leach some potential hormone disruptor.

Recycled into: Plastic lumber, custom-made products

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HOW CAN I PUT AN END TO ALL OF MY UNWANTED JUNK MAIL?

To start - be smart about where you give your address and email address to. A lot of websites offering freebies are spam and will sell your mailing address out to other companies for money - don't give it to them! If it's too late and you're already getting tons of unwanted mail, there are a number of ways to "opt-out." Visit our Reduce, Reuse, Recycle page for some quick links that can help combat the never-ending stream of unsolicited mail!

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HOW CAN I GET A RECYCLING BIN?

If you are faculty/staff: each office or cubicle should be provided with one small (“desk-side”) recycling bin.  Should your office or cubicle be missing a recycling bin please put in a work order with Facilities Management here.  Your bin will be delivered in five to 10 days.

If you are a residential student: each freshman room is provided with one small (“desk-side”) recycling bin and each apartment or suite is provided with one tall (“slim jim”) recycling bin. Should your room/apt/suite be missing a recycling bin please put in a work order with Facilities Management here.  Your bin will be delivered in five to 10 days.

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WHY SHOULD I RECYCLE IF OUR TRASH IS BEING USED TO GENERATE ENERGY?

Despite the benefits of the waste-to-energy process, recycling is still found to have far greater net energy savings than waste-to-energy processes. Research shows that taken together, the manufacture of products from recycled materials plus the processes of recycling, use considerably less energy than the manufacture of new products from virgin sources, plus the incineration of those products in a waste-to-energy facility. 

The energy savings are due mostly to the substantial reduction in energy use associated with manufacturing products from recycled materials, relative to manufacturing products from virgin materials.

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