By UW Sustainability | Mar 9, 2016

You’re standing in front of three large bins (recycle, compost, and trash), trying to figure out where exactly to throw away a milk carton. You're pretty sure it shouldn't go in the compost, but you're not sure if it should be recycled. Should you throw it in the landfill bin just to be safe? 

Deciding what to recycle can be tricky – we’ve all been there. Luckily, Sqwatch is here to help.

Those milk cartons can go in the recycling, along with most cans, bottles, paper and plastic containers. Styrofoam cups, along with candy wrappers, chip bags and foil lids are non-recyclable items that need to go in the landfill bin. Remember, packaging must also be clean to be recyclable.

For more information on what can and can't be recycled, check out UW Recycling's website. They have visual signs for common items, and some not-so-common ones, as well as a detailed page with information on how to dispose of just about any item.

Generally, recyclable items include:

  • Paper Cartons & boxes
  • Flattened cardboard
  • Glass bottles & jars
  • Cans
  • Clean aluminum foil
  • Plastic bottles, jars, tubs
  • Plastic trays, cups, containers
  • Plastic bags (must be bagged together)

The UW Sustainability mascot, Sqwatch, has a love of the environment so deep his heart is green (and he's clearly got a passion for purple and gold). As a sasquatch, Sqwatch is well versed in leaving no trace and making sure his impact on the environment is minimal. Even a bigfoot can have a small environmental footprint, and Sqwatch is here to help spread the knowledge to the UW community. We'll be letting you in on some of Sqwatch's Secrets every week, providing easy tips to reduce your impact and leave a lighter footprint.