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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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The following postings have been filtered by tag Composting. clear filter
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 »
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 »
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 »
Are napkins and paper towels compost or waste?

Napkins are compostable because they break down easily and are typically used with food.

As for paper towels and facial tissue, that depends on how you're composting. They are technically compostable and are fine to put in compost if you're making your own. However, for large scale composting (like we're doing at SCU), they should be considered waste as they can contain pathogens.

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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.

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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.

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How frequently does our departmental compost container get emptied?

The compost bin will be emptied by your custodian as often as needed. If it is not emptied frequently enough for you, please contact Facilities (x4742).

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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!

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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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Can I recycle the tops of pizza boxes when they are clean?

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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