What Grinds Our Gears: People who don’t recycle

Recycle and compost bins show what to put in them, it’s not that hard

There’s a reason businesses offer compartmentalized bins. ILLUSTRATION: Maple Sukontasukkul / The Peak

By: Marco Ovies, Features Editor

The other day I went out for a coffee and because JJ Bean had a bunch of open tables outside, I decided to sit and enjoy the sun with my drink. Like most coffee places, they had one of those garbage bins for sorting compost, recycling, and garbage with pictures of what part of your coffee cup goes into which bin. It was pretty self-explanatory — your lid goes into the recycling and the rest of the cup goes into the compost. I was pleasantly surprised because it looked like nothing JJ Bean gave customers was meant to go into the garbage. 

But I was soon disappointed by other coffee lovers as I sat and watched person after person approach the can and chuck their whole cup into the garbage. This wasn’t a one-time occurrence either; it looked like nearly everyone was just chucking their cup into the garbage without even thinking about it. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess. 

What irked me is that it was so easy to figure out what part of the cup went into which bin. It would have taken people maybe two or three seconds max to stop, separate their cup, and put it in the right bin. When I went to recycle my cup I was appalled by how many cups were thrown in the garbage and would be sent off to the landfill. 

It’s 2021. I don’t understand how people are not recycling. While most of the climate crisis is due to big corporations, that does not give you an excuse not to do your part.