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 Recycling process. clear filter
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 »
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 »
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 »
How do I recycle floppy disks?
Recycle your old floppy disks 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 »
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.
Read More »
I live in Sunnyvale and have a lot of old papers lying around; do I have to recycle it separately from my newspapers?
paper-ream-copysm
Mixed paper can be recycled along with newspaper. Read More »
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?

Mixed recycling:

All paper, plastics (#1-7), aluminum, glass, and tin should be placed in containers labeled with the following: a recycling symbol (outdoor cement bins), "mixed recycling", "co-mingle recycling", "recycling", "aluminum", "glass", and "plastic". Most of these bins are square and maroon. 
 
Cardboard, e-waste, and universal waste do not belong in mixed recycling.
  • 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?
coke can
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.
Read More »
Does the recycling at SCU go to city/county recycling plants? Who recycles the material?

eugenio driving a recycling cartAfter the recycled materials are collected, they are stored at Facilities until picked up by the respective recycling companies.

  • Aluminum, glass, plastics, and paper are recycled through Mission Trail Waste Systems.
  • Some paper and all corrugated cardboard are recycled through Weyerhaeuser. SCU uses a compactor for corrugated cardboard before it is picked up for recycling.
  • E-waste is handled by E-Waste Recyclers, a company out of Grass Valley.
  • Batteries are processed as hazardous waste and picked up, along with other hazardous materials (such as fluorescent tubes), monthly by All Chemical Disposal.
  • Ink cartridges are collected and brought to an elementary school, which recycles the ink cartridges to benefit the school.
  • Green waste is handled my Mission Trail Waste Systems.
Read More »