Waste Disposal Guide

Don’t know whether to compost, recycle, or trash it? We have the answers!

Use our alphabetized links or CTRL+F (on a PC) or ⌘F (on a Mac) to search our list of items and find out how to dispose of these commonly used products. Be sure to also review the golden rules of Swarthmore campus waste disposal.

We are working to make this list as comprehensive and useful as we can. Don't see a particular item listed below? Reach out and let us know!

 

WASTE DISPOSAL GOLDEN RULES:

  • THROW AWAY unnumbered plastics, or plastics marked #3 and #6
  • THROW AWAY items coated with paint or plastic.  

 

 

A  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z 

Item
Correct disposal method
A  
Aluminum foil 

Recycle. Rinse or wipe off food and liquid first.

B  

Baked Goods Baked Goods

Compost.
C  
Can  Can Recycle. Empty and clean food and beverage can before recycling.

Cardboard Box Cardboard

Recycle.
Cartons Cartons Recycle.
Chopsticks Chopsticks Compost if item is wood or was provided by the College.
Coffee Filter Coffee Filter Compost.
Coffee Sleeve Coffee Sleeve Compost if item was provided by the College.
Coffee Stirrer Coffee Stirrer Compost if item is wood or was provided by the College
Cold Drink Cup Cold Drink CUp Compost if item was provided by the College.
Cold Drink Cup Lid Cold drink cup lid Compost if item was provided by the College.
Compostable Utensils Compostable Utensils Compost. College-provided utensils are compostable, and recognizable by their matte finish.
E  
Envelope Envelope

Recycle regular envelopes, even those with plastic windows.

Trash padded envelopes.

F  
Fruits and Vegetables Fruits and Vegetables  Compost.
G  
Glass, Bottles and Jars Glass bottles and jars

Recycle. Item must be unbroken, clean, and empty.

Trash broken glass.

Glass, Broken Broken Glass Trash.
H  
Hot Drink Cup hot drink cup Compost if item was provided by the College.
Hot Drink Cup Lid hot drink cup lid Compost if item was provided by the College.
M  
Magazine Glossy Magazine

Recycle if made of glossy material.

Compost if made of non-glossy paper.

N  
Napkin 

Compost if paper napkin.

Trash if used for chemicals or cleaners.

Newspaper Newspaper Recycle.
Notebook Notebook Recycle.
P  
Padded Envelope Padded Envelope

Trash

Recycle regular envelopes, even those with plastic windows.

Paper Bag Paper bag Recycle.
Paper Clips Paper Clips Recycle.
Paper Plates and BowlsPaper plates and bowls

Compost if item was provided by the College.

Recycle if not College-provided but made of paper.

Paper Towel Paper Towel

Compost.

Trash if used for chemicals or cleaners.

 

Pills or Medicine Unmarked Pills Trash.
Pizza Pizza slice. Compost. Meat toppings are okay.
Pizza Box Pizza box Compost, but remove wax lining.
Plastic Bag, Film, or Saran Wrap Plastic Bag

Trash.

Check if your grocery store recycles plastic bags, many do!

Plastic Bottle or Jug  Plastic Bottle

Recycle if item is made of plastic #1, #2, #4, #5, or #7. Make sure it is empty and clean.

Trash if item is made of plastic #3 or #6.

Plastic Container and/or Lid Plastic container and lid

Recycle if item is made of plastic #1, #2, #4, #5, or #7. Make sure it is empty and clean.

Trash if item is made of plastic #3 or #6.

Plastic Utensils  Trash if item not provided by the College.
S  
Sandwich Sandwich Compost. Meat fillings are okay.
Scrap Paper Scrap Paper Recycle.
Shredded Paper Shredded Paper Compost.
Snack Bar Wrapper Snack Bar Wrapper Trash.
Solo Cup Solo Plastic Red Cup Trash.
Staples  Recycle.
Straw, Green Green straw Compost. Green straws only.
Styrofoam Styrofoam cup Trash.
Sugar, Salt, or Sweetener Packet Sugar and Sweetener packets Compost if packet is paper.
T  
Takeout Container Takeout Container

Compost if item is provided by the College.

Recycle if item is made of paper.

Trash if item is Styrofoam.

Tea Bag tea bag Compost. Remove staple.
Tea Bag Wrapper 

Recycle if made of glossy material.

Compost if made of paper.