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Single Stream Recycling
New Recycling Rule: Put All Recyclables in One Bin! As part of the college's ongoing efforts to reduce campus waste, Amherst implementing a single-stream recycling program in 2013. That means that all recyclable products (paper; rinsed plastic bottles, metal cans and glass jars; clean pizza boxes, aluminum foil and trays; clear plastic clamshell containers; empty aerosol cans; milk/juice cartons; and so on) can be disposed of in the same bin, and the college's recycling partners will do the sorting. Questions? Call the Recycling Center at 413-542-5038. Just remember: Put them all in one bin!
Recycling is a manufacturing process. In traditional manufacturing, a natural resource is extracted (trees cut, metal ore mined, etc.), processed (timber turned to paper fiber, bauxite ore converted to aluminum, etc.), manufactured into a product (a sheet of paper, an aluminum can, etc.), used by the consumer and then discarded—typically into a landfill or incinerator.
Recycling is just a slight tweak of that manufacturing process. Instead of extracting a natural resource to make consumer products, we use discarded materials as the input to make those products. While these discarded products may no longer be useful to a consumer, they still have “resource value” as an input to manufacture a new product.
There are three primary benefits from recycling:
- Less environmental damage and less energy used in the extraction of natural resources
- Less energy and fewer resources used in the manufacturing process (e.g., manufacturing a new aluminum can from recycled aluminum takes only 5% of the energy needed to make that can from virgin bauxite ore)
- Reduced need for landfills and waste combustion facilities
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, with a landfill-capacity crunch facing the Northeast and other parts of the country, the benefit of recycling that received the most attention and was often most valued was “reduced need for landfills.”
Now, our ever-increasing awareness of the dangers of greenhouse gases and global climate change are bringing other benefits of recycling to center stage. Our motivation for recycling has shifted to the energy-conservation benefits and “reducing the effects of resource extraction,” namely the damage to forests and other “carbon sinks” that help to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
What is recycled at Amherst College?
- Mixed Paper
- Glass bottles
- Aluminum Cans
- Tin Cans
- Fluorescent Light Bulbs
- Construction and Demolition Waste