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How I recycle while living on campus: repurposing a box

October 12, 2016 1:33 PM

How I recycle while living on campus

How repurposing a cardboard box as a recycling bin made me breath easier and recycle more in my room.


By Samina Musa

If you’re anything like me, you have felt a wash of guilt every time you have thrown a piece of paper, or a tossed a plastic water bottle in the tiny trash bin in your dorm room when it could have been recycled.

Maybe spending more money on a separate bin for recycling does not appeal to you because you’re a broke college student like the rest of us and you’d much rather spend your money on important things like late night pizza. Luckily for us (and the planet) the solution to this problem is simple and something everyone in every room at UMBC can take part in.


Before my first semester at UMBC, I had ordered unnecessary stuff online that I realized later in the year were useless. (Laptop locks, really???) This ended me up with a lot of cardboard boxes of all sizes that I had no idea what to do with. Then I realized I could use them to collect paper to recycle! And plastic bottles (I don’t use them too much because again, what a waste)! And cans! And then I could easily just dump all of my pretty recyclables in one of the blue recycling bins at the end of the hall. Just keeping a box for collecting recycling in made recycling all day, every day way easier.


Recycling is a small choice but all of our daily actions add up- especially when we all take part.


Especially when you think about why recycling is so important:

  • The human population is continuously growing and more people, meaning more waste and resource demand

  • Natural resources are limited. Paper and plastic comes from trees and petroleum. And not only can recycling prevent our destruction of living, breathing ecosystems like the Amazon Rainforest, but we can also significantly reduce the amount of trash in our communities.

  • Studies show more than 60% of the stuff that ends up in trash cans are recyclable. By having a separate container in your room, whether its a box or bag, to collect your recyclables, it makes it easier for you to sort and toss.


Here's how I recycle and reuse everyday, and how you could too:

  • 100% of glass products are recyclable so recycle or reuse those glass bottles!!

  • Don’t buy things with excess packaging at the grocery store (vote through our wallet).

  • Keep a reusable bag in our cars and take it with us grocery shopping

  • Buy in bulk instead of individual packages that take extra packaging and not to mention require more transportation

  • Don’t throw away e-waste like batteries, cell phones, lightbulbs in the trash bin. The Commons Information Desk, the Bookstore, the Library and Facilities Management Many stores like Home Depot and Mom’s Organic Market take these and put them to new uses

  • Finally and most importantly, be an example and share this reminder with your friends, family members, colleagues, and classmates around you because we are all a part of this big, beautiful island with its limited natural resources


I'm glad I took a step towards living greener. Let’s make the Earth a happy, breathing, alive habitat for all of us. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Compost!


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