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Frequently Asked Questions

 Compost. Photo from SCU Office of Sustainability.
 
Compost

Find out how, where, and what to compost on and off campus. Compost FAQs.

 Recycling. Photo from SCU Office of Sustainability.
 
Recycle

All plastics, metals, glass, and paper can be recycled on campus. Recycling FAQs.

 Landfill. Photo from SCU Office of Sustainability.
 
Landfill

Chip bags, wrappers, and off-campus disposable items can be placed in landfill bins on campus. Landfill FAQs.

 Electronics. Photo courtesy of UC Merced 2012.
 
Electronics

Find out how to properly donate, recycle, or dispose of your electronics here. Electronics FAQs.

 Office supplies. Photo from SCU Office of Sustainability.
 
Office Supplies

Have old office supplies that you no longer need? There are many recycling options you can take. Office Supplies FAQs.

 Batteries and ink cartridges. Photo courtesy of UC Merced 2012.
 
Batteries/Ink Cartridges

Batteries and ink cartridges need to be recycled separately. Batteries/Ink Cartridges FAQs.

 Donations. Photo from Pixabay.
 
Donations

Find out how to donate unwanted items such as books, clothes, and other supplies. Donations FAQs.

 Plastics. Photo courtesy of UC Merced 2012.
 
Plastics

All plastics, including thin-film plastics, can be recycled on campus. Candy wrappers and chip bags must be sent to landfill. Plastics FAQs.

 Move-out. Photo from SCU Office of Sustainability.
 
Move-Out

Find information for Spring Move-Out here. Move-out FAQs.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Recycling, Composting, and Waste

The SCU community can e-mail recycling@scu.edu their questions about recycling, composting, and waste on campus. This blog will provide answers to those questions.

Does extra butter and the butter wrapper go in the trash or in compost?

The extra butter goes into compost containers.

If the butter wrapper can tear easily (like paper), go ahead and throw it in the compost.
If it doesn't tear (or if it's made from foil), please put it in "landfill waste". If it looks like paper but doesn't tear easily, it's been plasticized and shouldn't be composted.

Also, check out this article about re-using butter wrappers for baking!

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What do I do with my yogurt container?

The yogurt container and the foil (or plastic) lid can be recycled. Look for any recycling container on campus.

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I live in Sunnyvale and have a lot of old papers lying around; do I have to recycle it separately from my newspapers?
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Mixed paper can be recycled along with newspaper. Read More »
Can I recycle the compostable containers that hold the fruit and salads in Benson? Or should I just throw it in the trash?

UPDATE: You can now compost these containers! Look for the bright green compost collection containers in Benson!

Please don't recycle these containers! When bioplastics end up in recycling processors, they cause expensive problems for recycling facilities, so it is better to throw containers in the compost. If you can't compost, please put them in the trash.

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How are electronic companies trying to make computers more eco-friendly? What are the environmental benefits of reusing and recycling e-waste? What are the potential environmental impacts if we do not recycle e-waste?

E-waste is a huge environmental problem we are facing today. Many companies are working on reducing the environmental impact of their electronics because most electronics are difficult to recycle, contain a number of hazardous materials, consume a huge amount of energy, and create a lot of waste through the process of production. Apple has just developed a new laptop that is highly recyclable, uses less energy, contains less toxic materials such as arsenic and mercury, and has reduced packaging. Also, because the battery lasts longer, there will be less battery waste. As of recently, a new standard of measurement (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) has been created to rate the environmental impact of desktop computers, notebook computers, and monitors. The Dell Latitude D630, with Intel Centrino processor technology, is the first laptop system that met the gold status with EPEAT. One of the best ways to make a computer or electronic device more eco-friendly is lengthening the lifetime and durability, so they don't need to be replaced as often.

There is an overwhelming amount of health and environmental problems associated with the life cycle of e-waste, from the production to disposal. Not only is a vast amount of e-waste disposed in landfills, but e-waste results in massive amounts of wastewater and other hazardous wastes. Estimates suggest that 50%-80% of e-waste is shipped to impoverished, rural areas in Asia. Villages, rivers, and groundwater supplies become poisoned with this waste. Unprotected laborers are paid miniscule amounts to dismantle the computers, wihch releases incredibly toxic fumes that damage their health and the surrounding environment.

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I don't really understand the difference between ink cartridges and receptacles in terms of recycling. Many places will even pay for used cartridges, but I am unable to find any information about recycling my used receptacles. Can you help?

At the moment, the Canon Clean Earth Program does not accept the ink receptacles, but they are working on a solution.

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I know facilities can come to pick up TV's and remote controls to recycle. Can they also recycle printers?

All e-waste can be recycled at Santa Clara University. E-waste includes materials that use batteries or have an electronic cord. A printer is an acceptable example of E-waste.

Students in the residence halls should place e-waste in the designated spot in their recycling and waste area (there should be a sign that reads "e-waste").

Faculty and staff should contact Facilities at extension 4742 to arrange for a pick up.

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How do you take care of an empty Starbucks coffee cup?
  • Brown sleeve, lid, sweetner packet: recycle
  • Cup*: landfill waste
  • Stir stick: compost

*If you're drinking out of a compostable cup provided by SCU Dining Services, please compost the cup when you're through!

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I have been keeping bottled waters to give to guests at meetings in my office and need to reorder. I understand the use of plastic bottles of water is not environmentally correct and want to do what is right. What suggestions can you give me so I can

Bottled water is unsustainable for a number of reasons. Their production is energy and resource intensive due to the actual production of plastic bottles as well as the energy needed to transport the finished products.

Tap water is your best option over bottled water. It is just as clean and safe, and oftentimes even more so. If you don't like the taste of tap water, there are a number of different filters available. Carbon filters (like the Brita ones) are very popular and help to get rid of unwanted chemicals or taste. The Brita filter is also recyclable. Whatever filter you pick, make sure that it is certified by NSF. Depending on how large your meetings tend to be, you can have reusable cups on stock, or encourage your guests to bring a reusable water bottle.

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I have a dead computer. How can I get it recycled?

You will need to contact Facilities to arrange for pick-up. Your computer will be responsibly recycled this way.

This can happen a couple ways:

  1. call or e-mail Facilities with your request (x4742 or facilities-csc@scu.edu)
  2. submit a work order directly if you are set up to use FAMIS.
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My paper shredder stopped functioning and I have just replaced it. How can I recycle the old one?

Please call or e-mail Facilities (x4742 or Facilities-CSC@scu.edu) to request an e-waste pick up.

If you have access to FAMIS, you can submit a work order request yourself.

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I am confused about the mixed recycling program. What belongs in mixed recycling, and where do I put recyclables?

Mixed recycling:

All paper, plastics (#1-7), aluminum, glass, and tin should be placed in containers labeled with the following: a recycling symbol (outdoor cement bins), "mixed recycling", "co-mingle recycling", "recycling", "aluminum", "glass", and "plastic". Most of these bins are square and maroon. 
 
Cardboard, e-waste, and universal waste do not belong in mixed recycling.
  • Cardboard gets flattened and placed near paper recycling containers.
  • E-waste and Universal waste depends on the location. In residence halls, these can be placed on the ground below the "e-waste" sign, or recycled at the building's service desk. In campus offices and other buildings, these items are either picked-up or mailed to Facilities.

We are in bit of a confusing time right now, as we update and standardize our recycling containers. We appreciate your patience!

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Contact Us

Center for Sustainability
Santa Clara University
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053 sustainability@scu.edu