On the first day of 2009 I found myself wading through a sea of empty beer cans and discarded Bacardi bottles. New Year’s Eve was indeed a party to remember, but these containers weren’t remnants from my celebrations – they were overflowing from recycling bins on campus.

While working for A.S. Recycling, I’ve noticed that UCSB students are damn good recyclers. That being said, I’d like to offer a few suggestions about how to improve your on-campus recycling habits.

First, please make sure you deposit recyclable material only in the beige, four-slot containers, which are called “berthas.” Each has separate holes for newspaper, plastic/aluminum, glass, and trash, which is good because we don’t sort out recycling from other trashcans.

Although the first bin is labeled “newspaper,” you can toss in any type of paper, but please place large cardboard items next to the bertha rather than cramming them inside it. When you get rid of glass, try to avoid the shatter factor, and when you chuck stuff in the plastic and aluminum slot, please avoid certain materials.

Styrofoam is not yet recyclable in Santa Barbara County, and plastic bags are not yet recyclable on campus. However, if you wish to recycle your plastic bags, you can take them to the Goleta Recycling Center at 20 David Love Place, off Hollister Avenue. Following these tips will make our job much easier!

Second, please either finish your beverage before discarding the bottle or screw the top back on tightly. An enormous number of drinks are consumed every day on campus, and their collective unfinished contents create a delicious cocktail of coffee, soda, orange juice and curdled milk, which is not pleasant to be splashed by. If you can gulp down the last of your green tea or close up your Coke, you’ll make our job a lot cleaner!

Finally, if a bertha is completely full, you can dispose of refuse in a dumpster instead. There are dumpsters for recycling behind The Arbor, Davidson Library, Coral Tree Café and other important facilities. Doing this will ensure your waste does not go to a landfill and will limit spillover from overfilled bins onto campus walkways. We sincerely appreciate your assistance in keeping our campus clean and keeping UCSB a leader in recycling and sustainability. We look forward to serving you in 2009!