The University of Miami is committed to recycling and waste minimization. On all campus areas the University is constantly working to find better end uses for our waste, that benefit the economy and the planet.
Recycling - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1.) What is single stream Recycling?
Single stream recycling (some times called commingled or mixed recycling) refers to the system in which all recyclable items (Paper, bottles, cans, cardboard, etc..) are collected in a single bin. Staff moves these materials to recycling dumpsters throughout campus. These dumpsters are brought to a recycling center where a technologically advanced system of infrared lasers, magnets, electric currents, human sorting, and scales separates each type of material. The bundled material is eventually purchased by different manufactures to make new goods or products. This reduces the environmental impact of producing virgin material as well as alleviates the burden of landfill waste.
2.) What Can I place in a single stream Recycling bin?
3.) I heard that “recycling just gets thrown away,” do we actually recycle?
Yes, we do recycle, though this is commonly a source of confusion on campus. The official policy is that recycling shall be placed in clear bags and Regular trash in dark bags. Often these both will end up on a cart or transported together from a building/office. Once the trash/recycle dumpster is reached, the clear bags are thrown into the recycle bin, and trash is thrown into the trash dumpster. The recycle bin will go to a recycling facility, and the trash will go to a landfill. The University is constantly monitoring and improving the program to ensure that all recycling reaches its intended location.
If you incorrectly put recyclables in the trash, they are thrown into the landfill with all the other waste. It is too expensive and messy to sort through the trash bins, therefore it is important to throw all recyclables into the single-stream recycling.
4.) Why should I care about my contribution to landfills?
When you recycle, the material can be considered valuable because manufacturers buy the reusable material. On the other hand, trash is not. Companies are charged to dump waste at landfills. The number one reason people do not recycle is because they feel it is inconvenient, but single-stream recycling on campus makes it easy to avoid tossing your recyclables in the trash bin. Since manufacturers can purchase recyclable materials, recycling saves energy and produces less pollution, while in turn creates a higher demand for these goods, helping the economy. The Waste Management landfill in South Florida is located in Miami, and as more waste builds up, no one will want to live next to a “pile of trash.” As this landfill builds up, the rotting material produces methane gas, mixed with other household chemicals, which leaches into the air we breathe and the water we drink. These toxic emissions directly harm wildlife and habitats in the surrounding areas on its way to contaminate amenities used by humans as well. The release of methane gas is 20 times more harmful to the atmosphere than carbon gas emissions and is believed to contribute greatly to the climate change in recent times. Specifically in Florida, 90% of our drinking water comes from aquifer systems. South Florida’s Biscayne aquifer is highly permeable because it lies at or not far from the ground surface, and therefore the groundwater is readily susceptible to contamination from of leachate of highly concentrated chemicals. Even though there are filtration and purification processes, they tend to be ineffective because of how the contaminants seep into the system.
5.) Why should I Recycle? What is the true impact of recycling for our school and world?
People say seeing is believing. Being environmentally conscience and remembering to do your part can have direct impacts in your own life and for others. Keep in mind the economic benefits that recycling efforts brings to the University of Miami- which is directly helping YOU. Recycling is a pocket saver for the producer and the consumer. Greater than making our students and staff happy, the collaborative effort from around the world can add up to substantial changes in our lifetime. For example?
-The United States annual energy consumption is equivalent to burning 271 trillion matches a day, or roughly one million matches PER person PER day.
-The amount of sunlight that meets the world’s surface PER MINUTE is enough energy to meet the world’s energy demand for an entire year.?
-The production required to make one computer uses 42,000 gallons of water. Remember to recycle your electronics.?
-Recycling ONE aluminum can would power a TV for THREE hours?
-The average time for a plastic bottle to decompose in a landfill is close to 700 years
-Used plastic dumped into the sea destroys life at an estimated 1,000,000 creatures per year
-Hershey’s kisses are produced at a rate of about 20 million a day, which is 133 square miles of aluminum wrap which can be recycled after the chocolate is eaten!
-1.5 million people could get jobs if the united states recycled 75% of its garbage
Did you know that on average Americans only recycle about one tenth of their trash? Did you also know that recycling can benefit the environment, the economy, and is good for the University? In accordance with the Green U mission, the University of Miami has a single-stream recycling program campus wide, meaning much more materials can be captured. Our goal is to make it easier for you to help the university reduce its environmental impact. Small changes such as recycling more can make a large difference. Thanks in advance for your support!!
Outdoor common areas:
- Trashcans are paired with recycle units throughout all campus areas. - Outdoor bins are for bottles and cans of aluminum or plastics # 1-7. - It is encouraged that caps are removed and bottles are emptied prior to placement in recycling receptacle. - Food waste and other materials are not to be placed in the recycling side of these units.
- Single stream bins are provided in break rooms or copy areas of all office locations - Single stream recycling means that all recyclable materials can go in to one bin. These items should not be placed in the trash can. - It is encouraged that caps are removed and bottles are emptied prior to placement in recycling receptacle. - Food waste and other materials not for recycling is not to be placed in the recycling side of these units. If a container that can be recycled has food waste please scrape into trashcan first then place recyclable item in recycle bin.
- Single stream bins are provided in the lobbies of many buildings and are accessible to many classroom areas. - Single stream recycling means that all recyclable materials can go in to one bin. These items should not be placed in the trash can - It is encouraged that caps are removed and bottles are emptied prior to placement in recycling receptacle. - Food waste and other materials not for recycling is not to be placed in the recycling side of these units. If a container that can be recycled has food waste please scrape into trashcan first then place recyclable item in recycle bin.
Libraries/ Computer labs:
- All libraries and computer labs have strategically placed recycle bins for single stream recycling.
Residence Areas: All residential areas are single stream. This means that a greater amount of items can now be captured for recycling instead of going to the landfill. Bins arelocated in the following locations along with instructions on what you can and cannot recycle.
- Towers (Stanford and Hecht)/ Mahoney & Pearson/ Eaton
There are bins located in the lobbies for single stream.
- University Village: In university village there will be increased recycle bins located near the dumpsters for singles stream recycling. On the bin there are detailed instructions about what you can and cannot place in them. Remember: before you throw it out consider what you can recycle first! - Single stream recycling means that all recyclable materials can go in to one bin. These items should not be placed in the trash can. - It is encouraged that caps are removed and bottles are emptied prior to placement in recycling receptacle. - Food waste and other materials not for recycling is not to be placed in the recycling side of these units. If a container that can be recycled has food waste please scrape into trashcan first then place recyclable item in recycle bin.
What could happen if you do not make the effort to recycle? What happens to plastics in nature?