City of Columbia Announces New Recycling Policy

Sims and Sabatke Recycling Webstory photo

Sims and Sabatke Recycling Webstory photo


Rayna Sims and Sarah Sabatke – MUTV 23 News Staff Writers


Beginning in Jan., Columbia announced a new policy regarding the types of plastics that can be recycled, as the city will now accept plastics labeled with numbers one through seven, whereas previously only numbers one and two were accepted.

Many common household products can now be recycled including yogurt containers, CD cases, plastic prescription bottles and plastic food containers. The number of the plastic can typically be found on the bottom of the product inside the recycling triangle. A full list of newly accepted plastics and a guide to recycling in the mid-Missouri region can be found at

“Right now the city of Columbia as a whole is only diverting 17 percent of their total landfill waste, and that’s below the national average. The national average is around 30,” said Alicia LaVaute, spokesperson for the MU Sustainability Office.

“Now we’ve got a great opportunity to divert a lot more of the materials and things that people use on a daily basis from going into the landfill,” she said.

Before recycling, make sure the containers are rinsed out and free of food particles. They can be thrown into any recycling bin. Many consumers often forget the harm caused by throwing recyclable products, such as water bottles, into trashcans.

“I think we’re so inclined to just think about, ‘Oh, I bought this at the store, and I consumed the product and I’m finished with it,’ but really [think] about where the product came from, what it’s made of, what it took to make that material and where it’s going after you use it,” said Amy Eultgen, advisor for the Environmental Leadership Office.

Although the slots of many campus recycling bins can only fit smaller products such as bottles, LaVaute wants students to know that they are allowed to remove the lid in order to recycle larger items.

While raising awareness about the recycling policy and encouraging more recycling on campus, Chad Phillips, Missouri Students Association campus and community relations chair, is focusing his efforts on Greek Town.

“We realized how little recycling comes out of Greek Town and how huge those complexes are, so we saw it as a perfect opportunity to make a big impact and lead to hopefully more recycling just on campus in general,” Phillips said.

“We found out that there are actually 18 Greek houses that pay for recycling, but unfortunately, most of those are unaware that they are paying for it and have that accessibility.”

Phillips says he hopes to get all of Greek Town on board with the recycling plans by the 2015-2016 school year.

While Phillips sets his sights on Greek Town, LaVaute and the MU Sustainability Office urge all students and faculty to participate in RecycleMania, an eight-week nationwide competition that challenges universities to increase their recycling rates. Last year, out of 600 schools, MU placed 26thin the competition. RecycleMania 2015 runs from Feb. 1 through Mar. 28.

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