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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 Should I Do With My Plastic Bags?
Plastic bags and thin plastic liners should be bundled together before disposing in the recycling bin. Read More »
Are Frozen Food Packages Recyclable?
Check the type frozen food packaging to see if it is recyclable. Read More »
Is bubble wrap recyclable?
Bubble wrap is recyclable on campus, but there are many ways to reuse it as well. Read More »
What can I do with my old cassettes?
Learn ways on how to reuse your cassettes and where to recycle them. Read More »
Are Overhead Transparencies Recyclable?
Overhead transparencies cannot be recycled on campus. Read about your options for keeping these from the landfill. Read More »
How Do I Recycle My Old Mattresses?
Learn where you can donate and recycle old mattresses. Read More »
Can Plastic Bags Be Recycled On Campus?
Yes, Plastic bags can be recycled on campus. Read More »
Paper vs Plastic: Can Laminated Paper Be Recycled?
Laminated Paper cannot be recycled due to differences in the recycling process. Read More »
Can you compost Paper Towels? Yes!
Paper towels (and any other paper products that DO NOT have plastic linings, pathogens, or bodily fluids)can be composted along with all other food scraps and compostable items. Read More »
We have several vinyl banners that we are hoping can be recycled. Do you have any suggestions on if this can be done and how?
Reusing/repurposing is better than recycling, since it takes less energy. Read More »
I have a bunch of books I don't need... what should I do?
You can donate or recycle them. Please don't put them in the blue paper recycling bags, books are heavy and rip the bags. Read More »
Why do we have compost containers in some buildings on campus and not on others?
The Office of Sustainability and Facilities Department have been collaborating on a university-wide Recycling System Upgrade for all SCU buildings. The program is intended to facilitate recycling and composting, increase waste diversion on campus, and standardize the appearance of our bins (no more old faded labels!). The order in which the buildings are upgraded depends on a variety of factors including bin availability, custodial service training, and communication with building administrators. Read More »
Morning after. What do I do with all these solo cups, bottles, and cans around my house?
No worries, you can both drink responsibly as well as clean up responsibly. We've provided some tips for reusable cups and wine cork recycling. Read More »
I'm an off-campus student. What are the rules for Santa Clara's curbside recycling program?
Luckily, the rules for off-campus recycling are relatively similar to the ones on-campus; both programs are single-stream, meaning you don't have to sort out all the different types of recyclables. Read More »
How do I recycle long fluorescent lighting tubes?
Thanks for recycling these! Many places will accept long fluorescent tubes to recycle. Read More »
I don't live on campus so I was wondering if there's somewhere I can take empty ink cartridges, batteries, and old cell phones to be recycled?
We provide suggestions of places to take your items. Read More »
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. Read More »
I recently received a promotion and have old business cards that I can no longer hand out. Are there good ways to reuse these, or should I just send them to the recycling bin?
Congratulations! Fortunately, being made of paper, business cards are among those items that can be chucked into the recycling bin. However, if you lean towards the creative side, there are a number of ways in which you can reuse these cards. Read More »
I'm confused about our new Starbucks cups. Are they compostable?
if you look on the slightly different Starbucks cup we have, it says: "This cup is compostable where commercial composting programs exist." Here is where the answer gets tricky. Read More »
What are 'green' dry cleaners, and where can I find them in this area?


Even though it can be a huge relief to pick up your dry-cleaning and see that stain has magically disappeared, the chemicals used at standard dry-cleaners can be toxic both to the workers who clean your clothes and to yourself. Most dry cleaners use a chemical called perchloroethylene, a known carcinogenic according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Fortunately, there is a burgeoning population of environmentally friendly dry-cleaners that have found alternatives to this chemical. One company, Green Earth Cleaning, uses a liquid silicone solution. This solution is no more expensive than standard dry-cleaning, it doesn't jeopardize the health of the employees, and doesn't end up as toxic waste after it is used. So, the next time you dig out your nice suit crumpled in the bottom of your closet and need to get it dry-cleaned for your aunt's cousin's wedding in two weeks, keep an eye out for your sustainable alternatives!

Listed below are some local Green Earth Cleaning affiliates, but there are plenty of other eco-friendly dry cleaners in our area:

A French Cleaners
5205 Prospect Rd. Suite 150
San Jose, CA 95129

Dry Clean 4 U
3787 Stevens Creek Blvd., Ste. 101
Santa Clara, CA 95051

DryClean A.B.C.
641 South Bernardo Ave.
Sunnyvale, CA 94087

Read More »