Throwing away the opportunity to recycle - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Throwing away the opportunity to recycle

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - In the middle of campus, in front of everyone, Haley Kunert pulled trash duty. And that's just fine by her.

"When you see people in hazmat suits I think you get a little curious," Kunert said.

Which is the point. During Earth Week, the more eyes the better.

"There's a lot of cardboard packaging, glass bottles, lot of plastic. Lots of plastics people probably don't know they can recycle," Kunert said.

Haley is an environmental systems student at UC San Diego and is part of a project to raise awareness about recycling, or lack thereof.

"A lot of people think oh it's too small or it has food on it, can't recycle it. Doesn't matter because it all gets washed, reused, and recycled and turned into what we need," she said.

Krista Mays helped organize the event and says about 50 percent of what's thrown out can be recycled.

"Rigid plastics. As you can see we have a ton of rigid plastics. Milk jugs are probably the easiest thing or soda bottles, water bottles, those are all recyclable," Mays said.

Strewn with Coke cans and coffee cups, all the caffeine is what you'd expect on a college campus. But it's not just students who need to re-think recycling.

"I think in general people throw away way too much stuff. I think we buy too much stuff to begin with and then we throw it away," Mays said. "I want them to look at what they have in their hand before they throw it in the trash bin and think about can you recycle that, and my guess is you probably can."

It's far from roses, but if it gets people recycling, Haley can stand the stench for one day.

"A lot more than you think that isn't recycled can be recycled," she said.

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