Santa Clara University




Find out what you can and cannot recycle on campus.

What is recyclable on campus?

All plastic types: #1-7, except polystyrene (Styrofoam) 
Thin-film plastics: This includes plastic bags (dry cleaning, bread bags, and grocery bags) as well as plastic wrap (Cellophane, bubble wrap, and shrink wrap). Bundle these plastics together in a clear bag and knot at the top. 
Paper: White & colored paper, newspaper, magazines, paperboard boxes, and photographs. Staples and tape are okay. 
Laminated paper cannot be recycled because the paper and plastic cannot be separated in the recycling process.
Milk Cartons

Can I recycle electronics? And what do I do with things like batteries or light bulbs?

Yes, electronics can be recycled when its life span is over. This is called electronic waste, or e-waste, which refers to any broken appliance that used an electric cord or battery. If you live on campus, you will find a blue tower in your residence hall lobby in which you can place bundled grocery bags, e-waste, and universal waste. If you work on campus, please contact Facilities to request a pick-up (x4742 or

Universal waste is any hazardous waste that can include batteries, ink cartridges, compact fluorescent light bulbs, and cell phones. Please place these items in the blue towers in your residence hall lobby. If you work on campus, send small items to Facilities via intercampus mail, or contact Facilities to request a pick-up (x4742 or 

What is Terracycle? Is is true I can recycle energy bar wrappers?

Terracycle is a company that diverts used products from the landfill and create new products, or upcycling. A wide variety of used materials is accepted by Terracycle through voluntary collection programs called brigades. SCU has 4 brigades and collects energy bar wrappers, writing instruments, paired shoes, and personal beauty products such as shampoo and make-up. You can deposit these items into their blue bins at the Malley Recreation Center. See other Terracycle brigade options.

Can I recycle plastic bags and other thin-film plastics?

Yes. Plastic bags and other thin-film plastics can be recycled on campus if they are bundled together in a clear bag that is knotted at the top. If you live off-campus in Santa Clara, you can also bundle, knot, and throw plastic bags and thin-film plastics in your recycle bin. For other cities, check with your local waste hauler.

Can I recycle frozen food packaging?

Frozen food boxes (made out of paperboard) are not recyclable because they are sprayed with a plastic coating that protects the contents against freezer burn. Once the material has this coating, it does not break apart into pulp during the cardboard recycling process. Any box with this type of plastic coating (or waxy coating) is not recyclable. 
Frozen food packages made from cardboard or thin-film plastics (such as frozen food bags or pouches) are recyclable on campus. In general, paperboard boxes are recyclable, so long as:
  • they haven't gotten wet
  • they haven't been exposed to oil or grease (this is why pizza box bottoms are not recyclable)
  • the plastic liner (common with food boxes) has been removed.
Return to Frequently Asked Questions about Waste Diversion.
Contact Us

Center for Sustainability
Santa Clara University
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053