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If you've lived outside Missoula, you might think you can recycle glass.

Not the case around here, where the Associated Students of the University of Montana Sustainability Center and UM Sustainability Office were spreading the word Wednesday about recyclable and non-recyclable items.

"While we have a long way to go before we're doing everything we can be doing, I think the evidence from today suggests that students are making an effort to recycle," said Meredith Repke, ASUM Sustainability Center coordinator.

The sustainability crew weighed close to 500 pounds of waste and recyclables collected from Jesse Hall, UM's largest dormitory, to see how much of it could go into the recycling bin instead of the trash, she said.

The results of the waste audit will be complete next week, but Repke said it's clear students can do better, and sustainability advocates can do more to educate them about recycling.

UM conducted a waste audit several years ago, and it's a good time to do one again, she said. As of this fall, all the residence halls have in-room recycling bins, and the ASUM Sustainability Center wanted to see if they're making a difference.

At least in some cases, students are recycling a little too much – at least for Missoula – with glass. 

"I think students want it to be recyclable, but unfortunately, it's not, so we have to pull that out," Repke said.

While glass can be recycled, no one here does that. And the cost of shipping bottles and jars to cities that do have glass recycling operations is prohibitive.

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Higher Education Reporter

Higher education / University of Montana reporter for the Missoulian.