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Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions about Recycling, Composting, and Waste
The SCU community can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org their questions about recycling, composting, and waste on campus. This blog will provide answers to those questions.
What can I do with my old cassettes?
How Do I Recycle My Old Mattresses?
Can Plastic Bags Be Recycled On Campus?
Morning after. What do I do with all these solo cups, bottles, and cans around my house?
What exactly is 'recycled water'? Doesn't it still contain chemicals and bacteria that would be harmful to us?
How do I recycle floppy disks?
When will academic buildings get compost containers?
SCU started our compost collection program in May 2009. We began by collecting compostable waste from the kitchen in Benson Center. In September, we expanded our compost collection to Market Square and all residence halls.
SCU's composting program is still new, and we're phasing it in slowly to give the campus community time to adjust to our new waste diversion practices!
Academic buildings are undergoing a transformation to a new desk-side recycling and waste collection system. As we phase in a new building, we are adding compost collection containers in those buildings' kitchen/break rooms. All academic buildings will be transitioned this academic year.Read More »
What are "Plastics #1-7"?
Plastic containers typically have a triangle stamp on their undersides, containing a number. This number is the Resin Code, i.e. the type of plastic used to make the container.
- Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE/PET #1)
Most commonly used for soda botles, water bottles, shampoo bottles, peanut butter jars, etc.
- High Density Polyethylene (HDPE #2)
Most commonly used for milk, water, and juice bottles, detergent bottles, yogurt and margarine containers, grocery bags, etc.
- Polyvinyl Chloride aka Vinyl (PVC #3)
Most commonly used for clear food packaging, shampoo bottles, etc.
- Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE #4)
Most commonly used for bread bags, frozen food bags, squeezable bottles like mustard, etc.
- Polypropylene (PP #5)
Most commonly used for ketchup bottles, yogurt and butter containers, etc.
- Polystyrene (aka. Styrofoam) (PS #6)
Most commonly used for meat trays, egg cartons, hot beverage cups, plates, etc.
- Other (#7)
Ketchup, large water bottles, etc.
Uses once recycled:
- PET: Fibers, soft drink bottles.
- HDPE: Bottles, grocery bags, recycling containers, playground equipment, plastic lumber.
- PVC: Pipe, fencing, and non-food bottles.
- LDPE: Plastic bags, 6-pack rings, tubing, some laboratory equipment.
- PP: Auto parts, dishware, food containers.
- PS: Cafeteria trays, toys, desk accessories, insulation.
- Other: Unknown.
I live in Sunnyvale and have a lot of old papers lying around; do I have to recycle it separately from my newspapers?
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.Read More »
I am confused about the mixed recycling program. What belongs in mixed recycling, and where do I put recyclables?
- 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!Read More »
Should bottles and cans be cleaned before they are placed in recycling bins around campus?