Recycling In the Residence Halls

The California State University System (CSU) and Sacramento State are committed to integrating sustainability into teaching, service, research and facilities management—in other words, to weave “green practices” into every facet of the University. Thus, University Housing Services staff encourages residents to make environmentally-conscious decisions while in living in the residence halls, and to reduce, reuse, and recycle whenever they can. 

What can residents recycle at the Residence Halls? 

Ink Cartridges

To recycle empty toner and ink cartridges, residents simply need to bring them to the front desk of their Residence hall.

Paper and Cardboard

All clean, dry paper and cardboard (no pizza boxes) may be recycled, including:

  • White paper, colored paper and newsprint
  • Window and clasp envelopes
  • Glossy magazines and catalogRecys
  • Phonebooks and paperback books
  • Gift wrap and carbonless forms
  • Cardboard

Why Recycle Paper?

Paper recycling is the process of remanufacturing old paper products and turning them into new, reusable paper products. Recycling old paper products uses 60% less energy than manufacturing new materials. Most paper can be recycled up to 8 times to create new products. 

Americans throw away enough writing and office paper annually to build a 12-foot high wall that stretches from New York City to Los Angeles. One ton of paper from recycled pulp saves 17 trees, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 7,999 gallons of water, 4.2 kilowatt hours of energy (enough to heat your home for half a year), 390 gallons of oil, and prevents 60 pounds of air pollutants. It takes 75,000 trees to print a Sunday edition of the New York Times.  

Paper makes up over 40% of our waste streams, making it the material that people throw away most. That means for every 100 pounds of trash we throw away, about 40 pounds of it is paper. If every individual recycled one newspaper every day, 41,000 trees could be saved. 

Bottles and Cans

Please empty and rinse bottles and containers before recycling.  The following types of bottles, cans, and containers may be recycled:

  • Aluminum cans
  • Aluminum foil
  • Steel cans (from soup, tuna, etc)
  • Glass bottles and jars of all colors (please remove the caps/lids)
  • #1 PETE plastic bottles (from water, sodas, etc.)
  • #2 HDPE plastic bottles (from shampoo, detergent, etc.) 

Why Recycle Bottles and Cans?

Producing a soda can from aluminum uses 95% less energy than manufacturing a can from its raw material (bauxite) and produces 95% less air pollution and 97% less water pollution.

Recycled soda bottles (plastics #1) can be made into carpeting, fleece clothing, tote bags, picnic tables and traffic cones.

At current steel recycling rates, the U.S. saves enough energy to provide 18 million homes with electricity.  Aluminum and steel have high scrap metal recycling value, so the more that individuals recycle, the more energy and money are saved.

Glass can be recycled repeatedly and never loses its quality or quantity. Americans use more than 100 million steel cans and more than 200 million aluminum beverage cans every day, enough to rebuild the entire U.S. commercial airliner fleet every three months.

Reduce your use of Bottles and Cans

Many local coffee shops offer a discount for bringing your own coffee mug.  Get a reusable water bottle—most people don’t know that tap water must meet more stringent standards than bottled water.

How to Recycle Bottles, Cans, Plastic Bags, Paper and Cardboard in the Residence Halls

The residence halls participate in the campus co-mingling recycling program. Each resident room is provided with one blue plastic recycling container. Residents should collect all food-free paper products and cardboard and place those items in the blue recycling container along with all of their aluminum,

glass, and plastic containers. Once the blue recycling container is full, residents should bring it outside and dump it into the large white recycling bin in the back of their hall next to the garbage dumpster. In the American River Courtyard, recyclable trash should be dumped in the appropriate garbage chute (with the exception of non-broken down cardboard). In the American River Courtyard, clean cardboard that is not broken down should be taken to the 1st floor trash chute area for recycling. Cardboard that is not broken down and “stuffed” into the trash chute will plug the chute making it unusable. Staff will have to lock the chute until the plug can be removed.

It is important that all paper and cardboard products have no food debris on them. Containers must also be rinsed to remove any food or beverages left in or on the containers, otherwise all the items in the recycling dumpster and will be thrown into our local landfill. 


What is e-waste (or e-scrap)?

E-waste is a commonly used term for electronic products at the end of their “useful life.” Unwanted electronic products such as computers, printers, TVs, VCRs and stereos make up one of the fastest growing segments of our nation’s waste stream.

Why Should e-waste be eRecycled?

Many Californians are unaware that it is illegal to throw most unwanted electronics in the trash. The hazardous materials contained in these items, such as lead, can be harmful to the environment and human health if improperly disposed. E-waste also contains valuable resources that should be recovered— in other words, eRecycled. 

What can be eRecycled in Residence Halls?

Items that can be eRecycled in the residence halls include: computers, monitors, printers, mice, keyboards, speakers, TVs, VCRs, DVD players, stereos, microwaves, lamps, blow dryers, chargers, power cords, cell phones, CDs, DVDs. 

How to Recycle e-waste in the Residence Halls

Residents can turn in e-waste material into a designated location for proper recycling anytime of the academic year. Please see your hall staff for more information.  

During the end of the fall and spring semesters, e-waste bins are provided in each hall for student use.


As of February 8, 2006, all Californians are required by law (California Code of Regulations, title 22, division 4.5, chapter 23) to recycle batteries through an authorized agent or recycling facility. As a regulated waste, businesses and households can be held liable for not maintaining compliance with the requirements of the “Universal Waste Rule.” Universal wastes are wastes that are generated by a wide range of the public and so the state has authorized less stringent regulations on their handling and management. Included in this category of universal waste are batteries, fluorescent lamps, mercury-containing devices and electronic waste (e-waste).

Why Recycle Batteries?

Besides the regulatory mandate, batteries contain metals or other toxic or corrosive materials. Individual batteries pose a minimal risk to people or the environment, but an accumulation of them in a landfill could lead to soil and groundwater contamination. Metals reclaimed from recycled batteries can be used to make new products. The best option is to use rechargeable batteries such as nickel cadmium, lithium, or nickel metal hydride that can help reduce the amount of battery waste generated, thus promoting a more sustainable environment.

What Batteries can be Recycled in the Residence Halls?

Any battery of any type or size that exhibits a hazardous characteristic or contains metals must be recycled. This includes the following:

  • One-time use batteries (including alkaline, silver button, zinc-carbon)
  • Rechargeable batteries (including nickel cadmium, lithium, nickel metal hydride)
  • Small lead acid batteries (including burglar alarm, emergency light, power backup)

How to Recycle Batteries in the Residence Halls

Each hall front desk has a collection container for residents to turn in batteries for recycling. For more information on University recycling efforts, please visit the University recycling website at