Recycling fraud on the bridge?

The little holes marked for bottles, paper and trash all lead to the same bag.

When classes are in session thousands of students walk across the Washington Avenue Bridge. They stroll past the proud artwork of the University’s many campus groups and are able to look out over the Mississippi River sheltered from the cold. The Washington Avenue Bridge has a dirty little secret, however, and it has to do with recycling.

The presence of many students obviously leads to a necessity for trash cans and recycling bins. Unfortunately, if one takes a closer look at the recycling bins by lifting their covers, only one trash bag filled with trash would be found. That’s right – the little holes marked for bottles, the slot for paper and the triangle for trash all lead to the same bag.

This is not the case near the Wilson Library where, upon inspection, students find three separate bags and one can see that bottles are with bottles, paper with paper and trash with trash.

University Landcare takes care of the bins around Wilson Library and seem to be doing their noble jobs. With a couple of phone calls it was established that it was the responsibility of University Parking and Transportation Services for the Washington Avenue Bridge. We were unable to get ahold of the person at University parking services in charge of this, so it leads to a few questions: Are the materials disposed of on the Washington Avenue Bridge recycled? If so, because there is only one plastic bag to each recycling receptacle, does parking services sort the trash?

It’s doubtful that parking services would go through the work of sorting out the trash to be recycled. Students are left believing that the papers they threw into the paper recycling slots are being recycled, when they probably are not.

How hard can it be to put the right amount of bags into the specially designed recycling containers? How many students walk across the Washington Avenue Bridge believing they are recycling? Somebody fix this and stop the waste.