5 Surprisingly Non-Recyclable Items On Campus

The following post on recycling myths is written by Lauren McKinnis, who works in NC State Waste Reduction and Recycling.

1. Pizza Boxes

Yeah, we know, it’s cardboard, right? But the grease and cheese stuck to the box bottom actually makes the box not recyclable. The good news is that you can compost the boxes, though. Pizza box composting dumpsters are now located at outdoor waste stations near Bragaw Residence Hall and Bowen and Metcalf Residence halls. Pizza slices/crust, napkins and paper plates are also accepted in the new pizza box composting dumpsters.

2. Plastic Clamshell Containers

That plastic or foam clamshell container that holds your restaurant leftovers is not recyclable. It’s true that they can be recycled in some cities, but recycling is often based on market demand and there is not a stable recycling market for these items in Raleigh. Sadly, you have to discard these containers in the landfill bin.

3. One-use Plastic cups

Solo cups or other thin, brittle plastic cups are not recyclable. But instead of throwing away cup after cup, you could use a reusable cup or bottle, which will earn you a 10-cent refill discount at campus C-Stores.

4. Styrofoam

It’s true that this foam can be recycled in some areas but not in the Raleigh area. So do your best to avoid using this type of foam since it eventually ends up in local landfills.

5. Boxes with wax/plastic coatings

This one gets a little tricky! An example of a box with a wax or plastic coating might be a frozen food box. You can test this by scratching the box to see if wax comes off on your fingernail or by tearing the box to see if there is a plastic coating. If there is a wax/plastic coating, the box should be thrown in the landfill bin. All other paperboard boxes without a coating can be placed in a paper recycling bin or a commingled bin on campus.

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