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Southwest Airlines Community

Going Green: Trash Talk

Adventurer A

You’re standing in between the recycle bin and the trash can with your beverage bottle in your hand.  Which bin does it go into?  Trash or recycle?  Check out the bottom of your bottle for the recycling logo and see which stamped number is inside those triangular chasing arrows.  If you see #1-7, you can toss that bottle into the recycling bin—maybe even practice your basketball skills.  Either way, you should feel good about not adding one more bottle to sit for years in a landfill.

At Southwest, as a result of our ongoing environmental stewardship commitment, we have diverted nearly 7,000 tons of material from landfills and into recycling facilities since August 2008 with our co-mingled recycling program.  That’s equal to the weight of nearly 165 Boeing 737-700 aircraft.  When we divert waste into the recycling stream, we’re saving money by reducing waste pickups, which are fees the Company pays in some locations—this is direct, bottomline savings.

We all know recycling saves on resources and keeps the trash out of our landfills, but what goes in which bin?  I know it can be confusing at times, so here are some basics that will hopefully make recycling more convenient while at the same time helping you reduce your environmental footprint. Oh, and if your community doesn’t have a recycling program, bring your paper/plastic/aluminum directly to Provisioning (if you work in a Provo city), or to locations where we offer recycling!


Do Recycle
: Unbroken food and beverage containers like wine, beer, and ketchup bottles
Don’t Recycle: Household glass—window panes, mirrors, and tableware (donate these instead)
What Happens?  Glass becomes food containers, tiles, landscaping pebbles, and road surfacing.
Brownie Points: Return compact fluorescent tubes to a recycler—more info on


Do Recycle:  Most programs take plastics #1-7, which include many beverage bottles, milk jugs, dish and laundry detergent bottles, and peanut butter jars.
Don’t Recycle:  Anything greater than #7, and some other no-no’s include juice boxes.
What Happens?  Plastic becomes fencing, pipes, fleece, and beverage and shampoo bottles.
Brownie Points:  Pack your lunches in reusable containers, take a cloth bag to the grocery store to carry your purchases home, and use a travel mug for your morning cup of Joe.


Do Recycle: Aluminum and steel beverage and food cans, empty paint cans, and disposable aluminum pans
Don’t Recycle: Aerosol cans and batteries
What Happens?  Metal becomes cookware, bike parts, tennis rackets, and appliances.
Brownie Points: Some states pay you green to be green! You can return aluminum cans and some glass and plastic bottles for recycling to get cash.


Do Recycle
: Newspapers, magazines, cardboard, and my favorite, all of that junk mail you get every day
Don’t Recycle: Tissues, brightly-dyed paper, wax paper, pizza boxes, and anything containing plastic
What Happens?  Paper becomes boxes, insulation, and animal bedding.
Brownie Points:  Pay your bills online and save a stamp and the envelope to mail, opt out of junk mail by going to, and view your magazine subscriptions online.

Of course, some communities might have stricter guidelines in place, like asking that you separate paper from plastic from glass, and so on.  Be sure to check your community’s web site to make sure you’re coloring inside the lines when it comes to recycling.  And, remember, if your community doesn’t have a program in place, bring it to work and drop it in a recycle bin.

Do you have any recycling tips?  Let us know by commenting below, and send your tips to Green@wnco.comDING!  You are now free to be Green!