Man Reveals Recycling and Trash Go in Same Bin at Restaurant in Viral Video

A man throwing out a cup in an alleged Subway recycling bin sparked a debate online after he revealed the cup would have landed in the same container regardless of which opening he would have chosen.

The now-viral TikTok, captioned "@Subway explain...," has been viewed 9.7 million times and liked 1.5 million times since being posted on February 14. In the nine-second clip posted by user @garayua21, it started with the TikToker getting up from his seat.

"Oh boy, I can't wait to help the environment," the man said as he walked to the container used to throw out recycling and trash.

He moved the cup back and forth, settling on recycling it. "Yeah, help the environment," he said while throwing the cup in the recycling opening.

After making his decision, @garayua21 then opened up the door to what he thought were separate trash and recycling containers. Instead, he revealed both the items to be recycled and those that are bound for the dump actually wind up in the same bin.

According to National Geographic, not all plastic is actually recyclable. Plastic bags and straws aren't recyclable, and coffee cups are only recyclable when using a certain machine.

Over 9,900 comments came pouring in regarding the video, and a debate ensued about recycling. Some people thought the content was symbolic. "Says a lot about society I think," a TikToker suggested.

Person putting bottle in recycling
A man revealed the recycling and trash go in the same bin at an alleged Subway in a viral video. Here, a person putting a plastic bottle in the recycling bin. NOPPONPAT/GETTY

Apparently, the situation isn't a new one for other places either. "I learned this at my job, and it was so upsetting," a user pointed out.

Many people weren't happy with the knowledge knowing the recycling and trash went out together. "Wait, What? I want to cry," a TikToker admitted.

One person called the situation the "biggest scam in the world," adding, "It's like this everywhere. You think you're recycling, but it's just going to the dump."

Another TikToker claimed even if it were separate bags, "we throw them in the same dumpster, it really doesn't matter."

While a user said their Starbucks "is the same way," alleging, "There are two separate bags, but they both go in the trash."

Other people revealed information about the practices where they have worked. One TikToker claimed the McDonald's they worked at "had three separate waste streams, but they got compacted in with the same garbage."

Some TikTokers pointed out an important detail about recycling many people aren't aware of. "You also can't recycle anything with food in it!" a user said. "People don't know this."

People weren't happy with the revelation made from the video. Some had comments like, "I'm genuinely upset about this," and "Honestly a lot of the things we 'recycle' just end up with the trash. It's sad."

Newsweek reached out to Subway and TikToker @garayua21 for comment.