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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I recycle envelopes with the plastic windows? Staples/small clips? Spiral Notebooks? Glossy advertisements ? Post-its?
All the above mentioned items can be recycled . In the recycling process, all paper is converted to pulp and any non-paper items that are mixed in such as plastic windows, staples and paper clips from envelopes are filtered out before the pulp continues through the paper mill. While the above is generally true, there are instances where the metal fasteners are large and tightly fastened to the fibers, thus it is important to remove them prior to entering the recycling process for pulping. Please be sure to remove metal spirals and any plastic material from spiral notebooks. The CLEAN and DRY cardboard and paper material can then be placed in any paper recycling bin and the metal spiral, staples, and plastic should be placed in the waste bin.
What do I do with cardboard that doesn’t fit inside my recycling bin?
Please flatten large pieces of cardboard and remove all plastics peanuts, and waste from the cardboard. Stack the cardboard neatly next to the paper recycling bin. This practice also saves room in the recycling bin for other paper products to be recycled. When you do your part, you not only help the University save valuable resources, you also help to keep our buildings clean, and enable our staff to handle materials more efficiently!
Can I recycle pizza boxes?
Yes, but only the cardboard with no food residues (i.e. sauce, cheese, grease). Tear off the clean half and place it in or next to the paper recycling bin and place the contaminated half in the waste bin. The marketplace that accepts the cardboard does not tolerate food contamination and may reject an entire load from the University because they may assume the whole load is contaminated. So, if it's clean then recycle it. But when in doubt, toss it out!
Can I recycle any plastic that has a recycling sign and number on it?
Our recycling vendor accepts Plastics #1-7 provided it’s in a “container type form”. If it holds food/liquid and has the universal recycling symbol with a number 1-7 on it, it is acceptable. Some of these items include, water bottles, yogurt containers, and cold drink Starbucks cups and lids. Please rinse, crush and re-cap to reduce contamination.
Can I get money back for my beverage cans?
All beverage cans with a NY state deposit label may be returned for 5 cents per bottle and can. To find a list of local stores with bottle and can deposits, click here.
Are bottle caps recyclable? And should I remove the label?
First, be sure to rinse the liquids and contents out of the bottles and cans. Then flatten/crush the plastic bottles and place the bottle cap back on the container. The caps are recyclable. Re-capping helps to keep our recyclables clean and our building free of unwanted insects and pests. You also do not need to remove the labels. The recycling processes take care of this.
Why is it important to crush plastic bottles before recycling them?
Flattening plastic bottles helps improve the capacity/storage of the container and enables staff to handle recyclable materials more efficiently.
What is a common contamination problem with bottles/cans recycling?
Bottles or cans cannot be recycled if they still have liquid inside them. Plastic and metal bottles and cans are commodities and the liquid diminishes the value of the material. In addition, sugary liquids can attract pests, insects and rodents. Be sure to empty all bottles and cans of before recycling as well as flatten and place the cap back on the bottle.
Can I recycle paper towels, food wrappers, or coffee cups?
No, these materials are not recycled as they are contaminated. It is not sanitary to include used napkins, paper towels, tissues or toilet paper in paper recycling.
What kinds of metal cans are recycled on campus?
The most common recycled metal can is aluminum, but steel, tin, and bi-metal cans can be recycled as well.
I'm cleaning out my office and have boxes of filed papers to get rid of. How do I recycle them? Also, I have some waste to get rid of, what do I do?
Please contact the Department of Recycling & Resource Management - Recycling Supervisor at (631) 632-9297. You have the option of using 96 gallon blue paper recycling bins, or the canvas bins. Canvas bins are usually for large books. Staff will also provide you with 65 and/or 95 gallon toter bins that are for solid waste only. Be sure not to contaminate the recycling bins with waste materials.
You will need to register the service request on our website. Be sure to include all information so our staff can service you efficiently.
I have confidential records. How do I go about shredding them?
The University has a contract with a vendor who supplies lockable bins, and upon servicing, will shred the paper contents on-site with a shredder box truck. Please contact Department of Recycling & Resource Management at (631) 632-9673 for more information.
Note: During the annual Recycle Mania Tournament, the Department of Recycling & Resource Management will provide complimentary shredding service through the appropriate service provider that is on the University contract. RecycleMania typically runs from February through March (two months). Before or after the RecycleMania time frame the Office of Sustainability does not provide this complimentary service.
What if I don't have the standard recycling bin?
Please fill out the recycling bin request form on the website to obtain one of the University’s standard recycling bin(s). It is at the discretion of the Department of Recycling & Resource Management - Recycling Supervisor as to whether the request is appropriate or not. Staff will supply the request for bin(s) within 48 hours or depending on staff resources at the time. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Be sure to fill out all the information on the request form as staff will need all the details to be efficient in providing service to our customers.
What if I see our custodial person combining trash with recycling, or the recycling bin has not been emptied in a while?
Please contact Department of Recycling & Resource Management at (631) 632-9673 for more information.
Can I bring my trash or recyclables from home to the University?
It is not acceptable to bring your trash or recyclables to the University. Doing so puts an extra burden on the University staff and increases costs. Please work with your local Town/Municipality to recycle materials generated from your home residence. If you live in the Town of Brookhaven, visit the Town's waste management site here.
What do I do with my Home Residential E-waste?
Please contact your municipal recycling representative and/ore the associated Town website(s) in order to comply with your local procedures. E-waste is no longer permitted to be disposed of in the solid waste stream. Pursuant to New York State Law, E-waste must be recycle. New York State Law now requires manufactures to take responsibility for the recycling of the electronic equipment they produce. Manufactures must provide free and convenient acceptance programs for NYS consumers to properly recycle their waste electronic equipment. Towns will generally provide special E-waste recycling collection events and notify their residents. For further details, please visit the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation's website at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/66872.html.
What do I do with my surplus E-waste at work?
The University Property Control Departments works with a licensed e-waste recycling company. The company provides safe processing and recycling of these items. Components get separated into reusable metals, plastics, glass and other recyclables. To request a pick up of surplus e-waste, contact Property Control at 632-6306 or visit their website here.
How do I recycle my used toner and ink jet cartridges? Batteries? Old cell phones?
New double recycling bins for toner/ink cartridges and e-waste (alkaline batteries and cell phones) are now available on main campus. Please place such items in a plastic bag or envelope and place it in the correct side of the bin. The University is also part of the national Call2Recycle™ program. This program accepts rechargeable batteries and cell phones. Please place them in the box with the plastic bags provided. For a list of locations, please visit the Environmental Health and Safety website here. Departments can also request toner/ink cartridge recycling bins by submitting a request here. For more information, please visit our E-waste recycling page here.
Why is it important to recycle E-waste?
New York State Law requires residents to recycle their e-waste. Most e-waste contains hazardous chemicals that end up in landfills and can leak into the water we drink or the food we grow. Cadmium, lead, mercury, and chromium can be found in e-waste and can cause brain, bloodstream, kidney, and nerve damage. For more information, please visit SBU's Environmental Health and Safety website here.
I have a car on campus and would like to recycle my motor oil. How do I do so?
Please do not service your car while on campus. Use the local oil/car service centers. These establishments can service your vehicle oil conveniently and safely. One quart of oil may contaminate 250,000 gallons of groundwater, making it unsafe to drink.
I'm getting a lot of "junk mail." What can I do about this?
Contact the Direct Mailing Association at http://www.directmail.com/directory/mail_preference/. Ask them to take your name off unwanted mailing lists. Make sure to provide them with all the different variations of your name under which you receive junk mail. It may take a few months before you see any results, but your name and address will be removed from unwanted mailing lists for 5 years. Catalog choice, https://www.catalogchoice.org offers a free service that will place your name on no-send lists to stop catalog spam. To remove your name from the three major credit card companies for two years, call Trans Union at 1-888-567-8688. You will need to confirm your identity with personal information and your Social Security number (which they already have). You can also ask for a form to permanently remove your name from the mailing list.
What do I do with a refrigerator?
Assuming the refrigerator(s) are being discarded, broken and/or unusable, prior to contacting the Property Control Department you will need to contact the West Campus Physical Plant (COM) at (631) 632-6412 to schedule for removal of the freon from the refrigerator. The physical plant will assist you with a licensed contractor, and the requesting department will be liable for all charges.
I am a student living on campus and have: a refrigerator, tv, radio, etc. I want to do the right thing and have them properly recycled? What are the procedures?
Place your refrigerator, tv, radio etc outside by the dumpster of your area of residence. Campus Residence' Operations staff will pick the contents up and handle them accordingly.
What about small E-Waste, batteries, cds/dvds etc?
Small e-waste includes batteries, cell phones, keyboards, electronics, memory sticks, thumb drives, chords, cables and toner and ink cartridges. If you have these items and they are at the end of their useful life, please recycle them in the 2-bin E-waste units located on Main Campus. Click here for a list of locations.
How do I minimize wasteful printing at SINC sites?
To reduce waste at SINC sites, print double sided and reduce the page margins. Click here to find the steps to do so.

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