Making my usual run to The Depot
, an on-campus student-managed recycling and redemption center, things were running smoothly as the student worker took my cardboard, returnables and glassware. Upon return from the mysterious back room, she regrettably informed me that they do not take #5 plastic yogurt containers.
It is absolute bliss to have a one-stop recycling center where I can take all my recyclables. The Depot takes various items including high and low grade paper, cardboard, #2 plastic bottles and jugs, glass bottles and jars, waste motor oil, metal cans and aluminum foil products, cell phones and printer cartridges, ME returnable bottles and cans, books and clean clothing. It becomes difficult, however, when I have items that the Depot does not take such as egg cartons, plastic six-pack rings, #1 plastics and #3 - #7 plastics, paper/plastic composite materials and batteries.
As far as the #5 plastic yogurt containers, I found that Stonyfield Farm and Organic Valley have joined forces with Whole Foods to accept #5 plastics through a new Gimme 5 recycling program
. When I am home in Scarborough, I can easily stop by the Whole Foods in Portland, but my campus is nowhere near a Whole Foods. Fruitless searches on this pesky plastic finally made me realize that the relatively recent Gimme 5 recycling program is the only option currently available to recycle my #5 yogurt containers.
So essentially my options are that I could search the yogurt aisle for other types of plastic containers, stop eating yogurt altogether or save the empties until I am able to get to a Whole Foods.
Being an Environmental Science major, I naturally care about the environment and go out of my way to recycle. The majority of people, however, will recycle only if it is simple, easy and convenient. Obviously, there is still room for improvement (i.e. making it simpler and more convenient for the aforementioned group), but it's a work in progress. As long as you are aware of where products come from, their environmental impact and how they can be recycled, you will be a more informed — and greener — consumer.
Photo: DJ Bolender/Flickr