Recycling Program User Guide

As members of the Augsburg community we are expected to demonstrate good stewardship in managing the resources in our care.

The goal of the Recycling Program is to enlist the entire Augsburg community in the recycling effort. We welcome your suggestions, questions and concerns about the recycling program. For information and to request special pick-ups, please call Custodial Services at x1640.


Mixed Paper recycling includes: typing & copy paper, including paper wrappers; envelopes, including window envelopes; faxes, carbonless forms, glossy paper, tablet paper; newspaper & newsprint, including copies of Echo; tractor-feed papers, green bar, and manila folders. All colors are acceptable.

All paper can be written, drawn, typed, and printed on. Staples, Scotch tape, and paper clips do not have to be removed.

Low grade paper is now recyclable in the same collection containers as office paper. This includes: telephone books, catalogs, hard & soft bound books, corrugated cardboard, card stock, dark-colored & coated papers, notebooks with spiral metal binding, and magazines.

Non-Recyclable items include: any kind of plastic; candy & food wrappers; carbon paper; vinyl or cloth tape; rubber bands & string; carbon paper; napkins & restroom waste paper (paper towels, toilet paper & facial tissue); packing materials including shrink wrap, Styrofoam & cellophane; duct tape, recording tape & printer ribbons.

Please do not recycle pizza boxes or other items contaminated with grease or food waste. Waxed corrugated boxes used for packing food or produce are not recyclable.

Follow These Simple Steps for Office area recycling:

  1. In an office area, collect recyclable paper in the blue desk-side container (paper is typically 80% of the waste produced in a typical office area). Students living in residence halls will need to supply their own collection containers; a paper grocery bag works well.
  2. Periodically empty your recycling container into one of the paper collection containers located in the hallway near your area or the public recycling containers located in each residence hall (see posted procedures in residence halls). Delivering your own paper to the hallway recycling bin is your vital contribution to the campus recycling effort. Flatten corrugated boxes and dispose of packing materials. Place flattened boxes behind the hallway recycle containers.
  3. A custodian will collect the hallway containers and put the paper into intermediate storage. The collected paper is then hauled to a plant where it is reprocessed (typically into chipboard).

Notify Custodial Services if you need a special pick-up. For example, you may have large shipping cartons or wish to recycle boxes of old catalogs or brochures.


Cans & Bottles recycling includes: all aluminum and steel beverage containers; “tin” or bimetal food cans; all colors of glass bottles; disposable hard plastic cups; plastic bottles and beverage containers with a neck; bottles for milk & juice, detergent, shampoo, bleach, cooking oil, cleaning products, etc.

Non-Recyclable materials include: food waste; lids and soft plastic tubs (e.g. butter, yogurt); Styrofoam; broken glass, window or plate glass, light bulbs; plastic bags & wrappers; prescription bottles; motor oil containers and other hazardous waste; toys, aerosol cans, scrap metal.

Follow These Simple Steps:

  1. Separate recyclable and non-recyclable materials. Dispose of all non-recyclable materials: food, liquids, lids, caps, pumps, metallic & plastic foils, etc.
  2. Rinse food containers. Beverage containers must be empty, but do not need rinsing.
  3. Place materials in a hallway Cans & Bottles Recycling container. Do not store these materials in your office or room; empty containers create odors and attract pests!
  4. A custodian regularly empties the hallway collection containers. In turn, the collected bottles and cans are hauled to a processing center where they are sorted as materials for remanufacture.


Battery recycling includes: re-chargeable batteries, button batteries, alkaline flashlight batteries, small appliance batteries, etc.

All types of ink jet printer cartridges are recyclable and can be remanufactured.

Place recyclable batteries and ink jet cartridges in the appropriate containers at the Reuse Table in Christensen Center (located on the ground floor across from Murphy’s).


The reusable office supplies table has been a tremendous success. Drop off surplus office supplies at the Christensen Center Recycling Center. Examples of reuse items include: file folders, ring binders, pens & pencils, index tabs, scissors, etc. Be creative.

Feel free to take what you need. Given tight student or office budgets, this can save real money!


Make recycling a part of your daily activities. With only a little planning recycling is as easy as not recycling.

Cans & Bottles and Paper recycling containers are located in all buildings on campus. In most buildings, recycling containers are located in central locations in hallways, lobbies and office areas. In residence halls, centrally located recycling containers are located in laundry rooms (New Hall) or under recycling chutes (Anderson). In Mortensen Hall, recycling carts are located in the basement. In Urness hall small recycling containers are located on each floor and utility carts are also located in basement for cardboard.

The Reuse Table in the Christensen Center Game Room is convenient to Graphics, Murphy’s, and Coopers Attic; drop off ink jet cartridges, batteries, and re-use items.

MANAGING WASTE: the unseen recycling program

While we recycle those materials that you expect, we also recycle many things you may not be aware of:

  • Facilities Management recycles old appliances, carpeting, auto batteries and some scrap metal.
  • Yard waste (i.e., grass clippings, leaves, branches) is kept in a separate dumpster for composting.
  • We have had tremendous success in recycling Augsburg’s cast-off furniture. Schools, shelters, and other charitable organizations have benefited from these reusable items.
  • IT recycles its old computers through a service that extracts the metals, after salvaging parts.

In addition, certain items must be kept out of the usual waste stream and disposed of in ways that are environmentally responsible. This usually involves using specially licensed contractors:

  • Burned out fluorescent light bulbs are taken to a special disposal site that extracts the mercury; hazardous waste that otherwise would end up in landfills and possibly in ground water. In the past those same fluorescent lights used ballasts containing PCBs. Such ballasts are also kept out of the waste stream and processed to render them less harmful to the environment.
  • Disposal of hazardous chemicals, bio-hazardous waste, and lab sharps (syringes, glass slides, etc.).

Even though the task of managing waste is complex, there are definite benefits to the environment and to the Augsburg community.


Q – “Why not have the custodians empty the desk side paper containers?”

A – The objective of a successful program is to involve broad participation; the job of recycling is simply too large for any custodial department, waste hauler, or government agency for that matter. As consumers we need to take some responsibility for the waste we generate. Given the best circumstances, recycling is a break-even operation. To spend large sums in labor dollars in sorting and transporting recycle materials is not economically viable.

Besides, when we have polled customers on this, most respond that they are happy to empty their own recycle paper. Many people use their desk-side recycling as a kind of intermediate storage for papers they still might refer to.

Q – “What happens to the money the College makes on recycling?”

A – Actually, we don’t make any money. The cost of labor to collect, sort, and haul away recycle materials outweighs financial gains. We do however AVOID certain costs; we are charged less to remove a ton of recycle materials than we are a ton of waste. In this way it does make economic sense to recycle.

Q – “We must make money on aluminum cans ?”

A – Again, the labor of removing cans and sorting eliminates any profit. If we were to separate, sort, crush, store and transport aluminum cans, we would realize some cash, but the labor cost would far outweigh any money derived. We believe we are better served by the current system of commingling aluminum with glass and plastic. That system is simple, economical and efficient, and meets the objective of keeping these materials out of the waste stream.

If any campus group is interested in collecting and sorting aluminum cans as a fund raiser, we are certainly willing to accommodate that activity. In the past, Campus Ministry, M.P.I.R.G., and others have done this.

Q – “When in doubt, recycle it. Right?”

A – WRONG! If you are uncertain whether something is recyclable, it probably isn’t. Contamination of recycled materials remains our single greatest problem. When waste is mixed in with recycle materials it causes whole loads of recycle materials to be rejected by the hauler. Food waste and beverages carelessly thrown in a paper collection container turn all that collected paper into waste. When a recycling dumpster becomes contaminated with trash, we even have to pay additional charges for a special pick-up to remove it. When in doubt, throw it out! Call Custodial Services with your questions (x1640).


The essential point of waste prevention is to reduce the amount of waste we generate in the first place. Waste prevention conserves natural resources, raw materials, and land otherwise needed for landfills. Waste prevention is also its own direct economic reward.


Here are just a few of the simple things you can do to help. Please send us your tips so that we can pass them along to others.

  • Make two-sided copies. This saves money as well as paper.
  • Reuse the blank side of office paper for jotting notes.
  • Avoid printing on dark or brightly colored papers.
  • Reuse envelopes for sending on-campus mail or use multiple-name routing envelopes.
  • Use your own ceramic coffee cup instead of Styrofoam.
  • Share newspaper and magazine subscriptions with friends and colleagues.
  • Send correspondence through e-mail: avoid “snail-mail”.
  • Purchase quality goods; they will last longer and be more economical in the long run.
  • Offer to give away what you no longer need; one person’s trash may be another’s treasure.
  • Close the recycling loop by purchasing products made from recycled materials.