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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 Waste. clear filter
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 »
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 »
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 »
At SCU, where do we send our ink cartridges to be recycled?
There are three easy options to recycle empty ink cartridges. Read More »
What's the deal with polystyrene?

On Earth Day, Palo Alto issued an ordinance that restricts food vendors from providing take out containers that are made from expanded polystyrene or non-recyclable plastic. This ordinance affects a broad umbrella of food service vendors such as retail food vendors, cafeterias, outdoor food vendors, food vehicles, and caterers. While the ordinance applies to containers, it does not apply to straws, utensils, or hot cup lids. These vendors are expected to comply within a one year period.

What is Polystyrene?

Polystyrene is an inexpensive and commonly manufactured plastic; companies make items like clear disposable cups, razors, and CD cases out of polystyrene. The take-out containers in question are made of expanded polystyrene foam, and are of the same material as packaging peanuts and insulation. While this product is very similar to what is commonly known as Styrofoam, it is different because of its beaded texture.

What is the problem with it?

While this foam is good at keeping your food hot or cold, it causes a number of significant issues for ecosystems. What makes it convenient and durable for humans is what makes it so problematic for the environment; it is lightweight, it floats, and it can easily break into smaller pieces from factors like wind and sun. When these pieces break down, they can be mistaken for food by marine and land animals. It is non-biodegradable, so it will not break down in the environment like plants and other compostable matter. Even though some recycling companies will accept the plastic (polystyrene is the #6 recycling category), the expanded foam that is contaminated by food is nearly impossible to recycle. So, most containers either wind up in landfills or as litter; polystyrene containers are currently the second most abundant form of beach debris in California due to their common and widespread use. Finally, some scientific studies suggest that styrene is a harmful carcinogen to both humans and animals.

What can I do?

If you're not in an area that bans polystyrene, you still have options. Invest in some reusable containers, or if the place offers it, get a paper container instead (like when you get frozen yogurt at Frozo's). Even though the ordinance is exclusive to expanded polystyrene, Styrofoam is no better. Avoid it when you can! While Bon Appetit offers compostable to-go containers, you can do one step better and sign up for our Eco-Clamshell program.

Here's how:

1. Sign up at Market Square. If you're a faculty/staff member, you can do this at Adobe Lodge as well. Bring your campus ID and a refundable ten dollar deposit. You'll be given a keychain to exchange for your first EcoTray.
2. Every time you make a to-go purchase at Market Square or Adobe Lodge, you exchange your keychain for a clean and sanitized EcoTray.
3. Once you're done, you can drop off the tray at any on-campus Bon Appetit venue during regular hours in exchange for a new keychain.

Read More »
How do I recycle floppy disks?
Recycle your old floppy disks Read More »
Should paper towels be placed in the trash or compost bin?

We cannot compost paper towels from bathrooms, so they need to go in the trash.

Napkins (and paper towels other than those used in bathrooms) are compostable.

Read More »
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 »
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!

Read More »