Above, one of three mounds at the Seneca Meadows Landfill in Waterloo, NY, as seen from the west side of Seneca Lake approximately eight miles away (through a telephoto lens). Credit: Kevin Colton, HWS.

EPA Region Map

EPA Region Map
EPA Region Map

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Life and Times of a Solo Cup

Any college student would be hard pressed to say that they have never encountered a solo cup. Some of us use them as cheap dishes. Some of us use them to grow plants. Some of us use them when we have parties and don't want our real cups to be ruined. Whatever the case, solo cups are purchased in vast quantities by the demographic of college-age people.
There becomes an issue, however, when great quantities of solo cups are thrown in the trash. All too often, solo cups (which we all know are inexpensive) are left on the windowsill or under the sink to rot. Then, 2 months later, when they are discovered, the nose clips come out, as do the garbage bags. Why not recycle them? Because the mental/sensory cost of cleaning them out to recycle them or use them again is much higher than the monetary cost of buying another package (Kudos to all of those frequent-users of solo cups who take the time to wash them out and use them again!).
Further, solo cups become exponentially problematic when they are absent-mindedly taken outside, only to be dropped in the grass or on the street when their contents are gone. On Saturday morning alone, I encountered 4 solo cups randomly strewn about campus, only to be buried by the ensuing blizzard, only to be found when the snow melts. The eventual fate of this waste? Probably not the neighborhood recycling facility. More than likely, these poor red cups are off to the landfill.
Thus comes the plea to my college cohorts: Recycle or Re-Use your Solo Cups!

Photo Credits:
Top - http://www.bloomingtonneeds.com/images/solo_cup.jpg
Bottom - http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2562/3874983621_8e1f44bd4c.jpg

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