Sunday, October 19, 2008

Princeton Football Recycling Still Seeking a Win

One of the most obvious breakdowns in recycling in Princeton is at sports events and festivals. I did a quick calculation after the stands were vacated at the Princeton University football game yesterday, and came up with a figure of 2000 plastic bottles laying around, all of which are probably being treated as trash by the custodial staff.

One way to spare all these bottles from the trash would be to have the sports department give free tickets and some plastic bags to a scout troop, which would then gather and recycle all the bottles after the game, during the "fifth quarter" activities. The announcer could recognize the scouts over the P.A. system.

The recycling receptacles at the stadium are few and far between, and look just like the trash receptacles except they have a slightly lighter shade of metal top. The holes on the trash and recycling receptacles are the same size and width--maybe a foot across, which means that the receptacle, though it says "bottles and cans" on it, is talkin' trash, so to speak. I checked two of them. One had mostly trash, the other, amazingly, had mostly bottles.

Venders would be able to provide better numbers on overall bottle sales, but my guess is that about 5% of, say, 4000 bottles are getting recycled during football games.

Recycling at the high school games is hit or miss. Sometimes there are receptacles, sometimes not. And, again, the recycling containers have wide tops that encourage people to treat them as trash containers.

The trash cans, it turns out, make excellent squirrel traps. Their heavy lids are the kind with hinged doors you push on to put trash in. The resident squirrels apparently know how to get in through the hinged door, but can't get out. Twice in two weeks, now, I've had to pull the lid off, then stand back as the squirrel rockets three feet straight up in the air before zipping off into the bleachers. It's like watching a cartoon.

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