Monday, June 14, 2010

What Goes into Your Recycle Bin?

If your hotel and conference guests are offered a container for recycling their waste, do they know what to recycle? Do you?

Many recycling regulations vary by state, or even by county. Aluminum soda and food cans are readily accepted by recycling facilities practically everywhere, so recycle away! Newspapers, notebook or printer paper, and small cardboard can also be recycled everywhere. Be sure to communicate to your guests the best way to recycle these items, as they are bound to be used during conferences and meeting events.

Some areas define what types of plastic are recyclable by the small numbers printed on the bottom of the containers – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7, with 1 and 2 being the most abundant. Plastic numbered with a 1 is the easiest and most common recycled plastic, as its plastic makes up beverage and medicine bottles and is re-purposed to make winter jackets, comforter fills, and life jackets. Number 2 plastic is usually a thicker material, found in laundry detergent containers and shampoo bottles, and can be recycled to make toys, plastic lumber, and rope. Plastic number 6 is easily made into Styrofoam, packing peanuts, and disposable cutlery.

Other areas forego the number categorization entirely and create new regulations. In Forsyth County, North Carolina, for example, plastic with a “neck,” or any tapering at an end, is recyclable, and the numbers make no difference. Find out what types of plastic can be recycled in your area and mark it clearly on containers located within your establishment. Mostly everywhere, plastic bottle lids are not recyclable and must be discarded, as they are made of a different plastic, so make sure your bins make this clear.
Knowing what should be recycled and what to throw away will be especially helpful for guests visiting your location from out of town.

Written by:
Alison Shermeta-Gentry
Special Events Account Manager
Graylyn International Conference Center

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