We need your help with campus recycling

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Associate Chancellor Ashish Sahni and Vice Chancellor of Business and Administrative Services Sarah Latham

Our campus community has always been extremely supportive of our efforts to give our used bottles, cans, cardboard and other recyclables second, third, even fourth lives. We’ve had a strong recycling program in place for nearly 30 years, and we’re striving to achieve Zero Waste by 2020.
But a new challenge has arisen that will take a little extra effort on our part to overcome. Our campus recycling is temporarily being landfilled due to high rates of contamination, with the highest rates in our residential and dining halls. 
Recycling is contaminated when non-recyclable items like trash (think greasy pizza boxes) or compostable material like food scraps or to-go coffee cups and bioware from campus cafes are incorrectly tossed into recycling bins, which essentially sends all the contents to the landfill.
We need your help in fixing the problem. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to help combat this issue: 
  • Keep your recyclables loose! Recyclables disposed of in a plastic bag are not recycled!
  • Avoid the urge to “wish-cycle.” We “wish-cycle” when we guess, hope or wish an item is recyclable, then toss it into a recycling bin. If you are unsure if something is recyclable, it is better to throw it into the landfill bin!
  • Watch and share this informational video to learn how to recycle right on campus! 
  • Follow the student Zero Waste Team's social media content on Facebook (UCSC Zero Waste) and Instagram (@ucsczerowaste) for great recycling tips.
Thanks are due to our entire campus community, whose efforts help us to divert roughly 1,200 tons of recyclable materials from our waste stream annually. With a few changes, we can do even better!