Sqwatch's secret #9: What's recyclable?

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.

Sqwatch's secret #8: Compost, compost, compost!

We're lucky in Seattle to have city-wide composting, which makes it easy to keep food scraps out of the landfill. Choosing compost instead of the landfill bin reduces methane emissions and allows for the material to be re-used to increase soil nutrients. However, the city still sends about 100,000 tons of waste to the landfill each year which could be composted.

RecycleMania returns to UW

Beginning February 8, the University of Washington will be competing for the fourth year in RecycleMania - a friendly tournament where national college campuses compete during the course of eight weeks to see which can reduce, reuse and recycle the most on-campus waste. The UW will take on nationwide universities including Pac-12 rivals Arizona State University, Stanford, University of California Berkeley, University of Oregon and Washington State University.

From trash to treasure: Union Bay Natural Area

UW's ENVIR 480: Sustainability Studio class in the Program on the Environment presents students with a sustainability topic which they engage in as part of an experiential learning course. The topics change each quarter - this spring, the students researched the UW's environmental history. This is part of a series of posts by the students on some of the information they uncovered.

Cut down on food waste

As you get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends, family and food, a little preparation can go a long way in avoiding wasted food. Nearly a third of all food produced in the U.S. ends up being thrown out. Don't let your holiday feast be part of the problem - shop with a menu in mind, and check your fridge to see if you have any food which needs to be used before it goes bad. After you enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, keep those leftovers for delicious meals instead of throwing them out.

University Book Store plastic bag recycling program

For over seven years, the University Book Store has been supporting campus sustainability through its plastic bag recycling program. Although standard plastic bags are banned in Seattle, the University Book Store uses bags made with a thicker plastic, which is allowed. The plastic in the book store bags is at least 2.25 mil thick (one mil is equal to one-thousandth of an inch), which allows the bags to be more easily reused and eventually recycled.

Join the 2016 RecycleMania Planning Committee

Update: The application deadline for the RecycleMania planning committee has been extended to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19. To apply, please send the following to Jessica Lisiewski at recycle@uw.edu with "RecycleMania Committee" in the subject title, and in the email include your name, phone number, email, academic program, school year and a brief written statement (200 words or less) explaining why you are interested in being a member of the committee and what skills, experience, and/or passions you plan to bring to the committee.

Sqwatch's Secret #3: Reduce Food Waste

Food for thought: up to 40% of all food produced in the U.S. is thrown away, according to the EPA. That not only wastes food, but it also wastes all the resources that were used for growing, manufacturing, and transporting the food. Keeping food waste to a minimum helps reduce pollution at every step in the chain.

Here are some simple tips to keep food out of the compost: