Santa Clara University

sustainability at scu

Frequently Asked Questions About Waste Diversion

 
 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.

 

More FAQ's

Submit your questions to recycling@scu.edu

 
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The following postings have been filtered by tag Food/Drink. clear filter
Are Frozen Food Packages Recyclable?
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Check the type frozen food packaging to see if it is recyclable. Read More »
Morning after. What do I do with all these solo cups, bottles, and cans around my house?
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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 confused about our new Starbucks cups. Are they compostable?
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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 »
I'm always washing my reusable coffee cup and drying with paper towels. Are we sure that's better for for the environment than tossing paper cups?
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Water is part of a cycle. The water cycle is a natural process, rain flows to rivers, rivers flow to bays, water is evaporated and forms precipitation as rain, etc. We manipulate the system with our municipal utilities (like using tap water) but, used (or wasted) water ultimately goes down the drain and out into the bay, and back into the water cycle. Yes, it's good to conserve water use. But when comparing to other wasteful practices, it's important to consider the larger system/cycle.

Paper cups aren't part of a cycle. When you're done with them, they get hauled to a landfill where they sit forever. Things never breakdown in a landfill. So using a one-use cup is not cyclical... Even if it's a compostable cup, it's still going to sit in a landfill. Unless you can compost. That's a whole can of worms (literally, ha).

I'd recommend to keep on keeping on with your reusable cup and minimize the washing/drying if you can. Otherwise, you're better off continuing with what you're currently doing (but try a reusable towel)!

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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.

  1. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE/PET #1)
    Most commonly used for soda botles, water bottles, shampoo bottles, peanut butter jars, etc.
  2. High Density Polyethylene (HDPE #2)
    Most commonly used for milk, water, and juice bottles, detergent bottles, yogurt and margarine containers, grocery bags, etc.
  3. Polyvinyl Chloride aka Vinyl (PVC #3)
    Most commonly used for clear food packaging, shampoo bottles, etc.
  4. Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE #4)
    Most commonly used for bread bags, frozen food bags, squeezable bottles like mustard, etc.
  5. Polypropylene (PP #5)
    Most commonly used for ketchup bottles, yogurt and butter containers, etc.
  6. Polystyrene (aka. Styrofoam) (PS #6)
    Most commonly used for meat trays, egg cartons, hot beverage cups, plates, etc.
  7. Other (#7)
    Ketchup, large water bottles, etc.
     

Uses once recycled:

  1. PET: Fibers, soft drink bottles.
  2. HDPE: Bottles, grocery bags, recycling containers, playground equipment, plastic lumber.
  3. PVC: Pipe, fencing, and non-food bottles.
  4. LDPE: Plastic bags, 6-pack rings, tubing, some laboratory equipment.
  5. PP: Auto parts, dishware, food containers.
  6. PS: Cafeteria trays, toys, desk accessories, insulation.
  7. Other: Unknown.
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Does extra butter and the butter wrapper go in the trash or in compost?
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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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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 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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Should bottles and cans be cleaned before they are placed in recycling bins around campus?
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Beverage containers should be emptied before being placed in the recycling receptacle, but it is not necessary to rinse them. This makes it easier for sorting and  transporting. Some items with particularly messy or unpleasant contents, such as soup and tuna cans, should be rinsed in order to make sorting easier.
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Can I recycle the tops of pizza boxes when they are clean?
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Please place pizza boxes in COMPOST containers.

If this is not an option where you are, please remove the top of the box (only if it is clean) and recycle with corrugated cardboard.

Generally, we do not recycle pizza boxes because the cheese and grease from the pizza contaminates the box, rendering it unable to be recycled into new products. However, since many times only the bottom part of the box is contaminated, it is sometimes possible to separate and recycle the top. If, and only if, the top of the box is clean, recycle it with corrugated cardboard.

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