Santa Clara University

sustainability at scu

Frequently Asked Questions About Waste Diversion

 Compost. Photo from SCU Office of Sustainability.

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

 Recycling. Photo from SCU Office of Sustainability.

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

 Landfill. Photo from SCU Office of Sustainability.

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.

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.

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

 Plastics. Photo courtesy of UC Merced 2012.

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.

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


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What exactly is 'recycled water'? Doesn't it still contain chemicals and bacteria that would be harmful to us?

Recycling water is a great method for managing such a scarce resource more efficiently. Eighty-five percent of our campus is irrigated with recycled water, and we also use this water for the toilets of the Learning Commons. Recycled or "reclaimed" water is water that has already been used by residences and businesses; however, this water undergoes an intensive treatment before it is deemed safe to reuse. At South Bay Water Recycling, the agency that treats wastewater the South Bay, the water goes through 4 steps: 

1. Primary Treatment- The processing plant uses simple gravity to remove any large solid particles.

2. Secondary Biological Treatment- 'Good' bacteria removes any dissolved pollutants.

3. Filtration- Any residual matter is strained out.

4. Disinfection- Chlorine kills any bacteria, viruses, or surviving pathogens.

Although this water is not drinkable, it meets standards for "full body contact", meaning that a person could safely swim in it. In order to ensure the health of the citizens and the community, the water is continually tested and monitored to meet standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency, Regional Water Quality Control Board, and State Department of Health Services. Furthermore, recycled water does not return to our main water supply; it flows through separate purple pipes (which you've probably seen on our campus) that have signs saying, "Recycled Water- Do Not Drink".

Want to learn more? Visit the WateReuse site for more information.

Tags: Recycling process