Frequently Asked Questions

 Have a question that isn't answered on here? Send us an email at recycling@pugetsound.edu, and we'll be sure to respond to you as soon as we can.

What is a Waste Zone?
What is a toter?
What goes in the toters?
What is recyclable glass? Where can I recycle it?
What is corrugated cardboard? Where can I recycle it?
Are pizza boxes recyclable?
Where can I recycle batteries?
What is e-waste? How do I recycle it?
What can I do with empty ink cartridges?
Can food containers be recycled?
Is cloth recyclable?
How do I dispose of fluorescent light bulbs?
How do I safely dispose of paint?
Why are there no recycling bins in the dining area of the SUB?
Why does the University provide "compostable cups" but not a composting program?
Why are the sprinklers on in the rain?
How can I work for Sustainability Services?
How can I provide feedback or suggestions to Sustainability Services?

 

What is a Waste Zone?

Waste Zones contain trash, commingled recycling, and glass recycling bins. They are located on each floor of residence halls, in disposal closets, alcoves,or in hallways. In addition to being a space for items to be thrown away in passing, these areas are also for students to dispose of the items from the desk-side trash and recycling bins in their dorm rooms.

What is a toter?

"Toter" refers to the large blue bins that have wheels and are used to collect commingled materials. These bins are located throughout campus, in academic and administrative buildings. 

What goes in the toters?

Commingled Recycling: Plastics #1-7, aluminum, tin, and paper. Thin cardboard like that of cereal boxes can also go in the commingled recycling bins. Corrugated cardboard, thicker shippping cardboard, can be collapsed and placed next to the toter for pick up. Styrofoam, materials with food contamination on them, and glass are not acceptable in the commingled bins.

What is recyclable glass? Where can I recycle it?

Recyclable glass includes clean bottles and jars of all colors, shapes, and sizes. All lids and caps must be removed. Glass dishes, vases, mirrors, incandescent light bulbs, window panes, or other similar glass items are not recyclable. Glass is recycled in small blue bins, found in Waste Zones in residence halls and on every floor in other buildings on campus.

Glass is one of the most difficult and expensive materials to recycle, therefore it is extremely important to keep glass recycling free of contaminants such as liquid and lids/caps to help our glass recycling program stay financially feasible and environmentally sound.

What is corrugated cardboard? Where can I recycle it?

Corrugated cardboard, unlike cardboard used for cereal boxes or other small packages, is thick and has a middle-section of comb. Mail packages and storage boxes are usually made of corrugated cardboard. Please break down this type of cardboard and place it in the designated areas in dorms and breezeways or slide it behind a toter so that it can be collected.

Are pizza boxes recyclable?

In order for pizza boxes to be recyclable, they need to be clean of any oil or food residue. Pizza boxes should be placed to the side of the toters or in the designated cardboard areas of dorms, breezeways, and the SUB. Sometimes only half the pizza box is contaminated, if this happens the box can be ripped in half so that the clean part can be recycled and the dirty portion can go in the trash. 

 

Where can I recycle batteries?

On campus, batteries are collected to be recycled in the glass bins or in battery collection buckets at the Info Desk in the SUB and in Department offices in all academic buildings. Off campus, they are collected in glass bins that are services by the City of Tacoma. All types of batteries are accepted; to ensure safe disposal, please place batteries in a plastic bag before putting them in glass bins.

 What is e-waste? How do I recycle it?

Electronic waste includes any item that runs on electricity- from batteries or wall outlets. Small items such as iPods, cell phones, and cables can be placed in the glass bins to be collected by Sustainability Services. For larger items such as laptops, electronic equipment, mini-fridges, and microwaves, please email Sustainability Services, recycling@pugetsound.edu, so our team can coordinate with you to pick it up to be recycled.

We are very excited to be partnered with a local vendor, Green PC, in recycling electronic waste. Green PC, unlike many other electronic waste "recycling" facilities, refurbishes items that can be fixed or breaks down those that cannot in-house to sell parts locally. Green PC has been a great ally in diverting electronic waste, and the hazardous materials it often contains, from landfills both within the United States and abroad.

How can I recycle empty ink cartridges?

Empty ink cartridges can be brought to the collection bin near the upstairs entrance to the bookstore in the SUB, where both ink jet cartridges (from small desk-side printers) and laser jet cartridges (from larger office printers) are collected to be recycled. If your office or department has a large number of empty cartridges, please file a work order to coordinate a pick up time. 

Can food containers be recycled?

Plastic containers can be recycled if they have a recycling symbol on them and are free of any food residue. Styrofoam food containers can never be recycled. 

Can cloth be recycled?

We are not able to recycle cloth on campus, but you can donate your cloth or clothing to any of the local thrift stores around Tacoma, including: Good Will, Bargain World, Value Village, or Urban Exchange.

How do I dispose of fluorescent light bulbs?

Fluorescent light bulbs contain harmful chemicals and should not go in the garbage or recycling bins. If you have fluorescent bulbs that you need to dispose of, please place them in the glass bins around campus or contact Sustainability Services.

How do I safely dispose of paint?

Paint should not go in the trash or recycling bins because it contains toxic materials. Please contact Sustainability Services so that it can be collected and disposed of safely and sustainably.

Why are there no recycling bins in the dining area of the SUB?

Sustainability Services has had trouble in the past with high amounts of contamination in the dining area of the SUB, it is impractical to put recycling bins in this area. While we value those who recycle correctly and help us to maintain an efficient and sustainable recycling program, contamination not only undermines the purpose of recycling bins but also causes a loss of time and resources for our program. 

Why does the University provide "compostable cups" but not a composting program?

Although we do not have a composting program on campus, the University does provide compostable cups. These cups are cost-effective for the University and still break down more quickly in landfills than do normal paper cups.

Many different sectors of the campus have attempted to initiate composting programs throughout the years, but none of these programs has ever succeeded. In the past, composting ventures have included student-run worm bins and composting barrels. These programs have failed because students are not on campus year-round and the bins are often neglected while students are away from campus, if not also while they are on campus. These smaller-scale projects have always failed to maintain the man-power needed to make them successful. Larger-scale composting is also currently not feasible on our campus. Large composting equipment is not only expensive, but also very space-consuming and as of yet solutions to either of the problems have not been created.

Why are the sprinklers on in the rain?

The sprinkler system on campus is very sustainable. While it may seem that the sprinklers are being wasteful because occasionally they are on in the rain, the system relies on data regarding water in the soil to determine how often and how much water should be used when sprinkling. Also, the sprinklers accommodate the next day for any excessive watering the previous day.

How can I work for Sustainability Services?

Sustainability Services employs work-study, and on occasion non-work-study, students. If you are interested in being a part of the Sustainability Services team, please contact Career and Employment Services (CES) or Sustainability Services (recycling@pugetsound.edu).

How can I provide feedback or suggestions to Sustainability Services?

Send us an email at recycling@pugetsound.edu or give us a call at (253)879-1560. Our staff will address your feedback as soon as possible and all comments, questions, concerns, and suggestions are welcome.