The most common item in school cafeteria settings to be recycled is aluminum cans, followed closely by plastic beverage containers. While other items (trays, plastic ware, plates) can be recycled depending on composition, the much better option is to reuse these products, just like a restaurant does. What cannot be recycled are food scraps and paper napkins. These items should be composted or used as mulch since they cannot be recycled. Nearly all items in a cafeteria setting can be diverted from waste streams and they should be.
It really depends on the local recylcing facilities available. Some recycling plants only process certain plastics and glass, and not paper, etc. Most packaging could probably be recycled — aluminum cans are a big source of waste. With access to the right facilities, everything could potentially be recycled. Even organic waste from food can be composted.
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