What should I do with my ...?


Photo of recycling symbolThe following concept has been borrowed from UCLA's Sustainability website.

What can be recycled in UC Davis Medical Center’s Mixed Recyclable Bins (blue bins)?
Almost everything can be recycled! In general, as long as the item does not have food on it, it should be recycled. This includes paper, plastic, aluminum, glass, and paperboard/cardboard. Please note that electronic waste and batteries must be recycled separately.

What if I have one of the old cylindrical bins that were used for mixed paper?
We no longer manage mixed paper separately; these bins can be used in the same way as the newer blue bins.

Do we recycle white paper separately?
At this time we do not. However, if it contains protected information, make sure that it goes into the confidential document bin.

Where can I recycle electronic waste like computers, TV’s, etc.?
UC Davis Health System has an agreement with CEAR, an eSteward electronics recycler based at Mather. CEAR maintains an eWaste trailer at the 14th Avenue warehouse. Health system staff can submit a PO&M Service Request to have the Move Crew pick up eWaste for deposit at the trailer.

Can I recycle pens, Sharpies and the like?
Yes! UCD campus has a program that will accept all writing instruments with a plastic barrel/housing.  Put the deceased instruments in an envelope with "Recycle Pens" legibly written on the outside, and place it in your outgoing mail.

Where can I recycle CDs and DVDs?
Our recycler currently does not accept CDs and DVDs.

I have an old Ink Jet/ Laser Jet printing cartridge. Where can I recycle these?
The campus program can recycle these. Put the used cartridge in the box that the new one came in, securely close the box, and write “Recycle Toner” on it with a big fat marker. Put the box with outgoing UCD mail.

How do we recycle batteries?
Please reference the information on the EH&S website: http://safety

Where can I recycle old cell phones?
If you have a lot of them, follow the instructions for eWaste, above. If you have just one, put it in your unit’s battery bucket.

Are pizza boxes recyclable?
Empty pizza boxes may be recycled ONLY if they have do not have grease on them. Greasy boxes and box liners go into the trash.

Are plastic bags recyclable?
Not anymore.  The market for film plastic is in the doldrums, and most recyclers will no longer accept plastic bags and similar.

Is Styrofoam recyclable?
Technically, yes, but our recycling vendor does not currently accept Styrofoam. Recycling Styrofoam has a lot of issues and is not cost-effective, so Styrofoam goes to trash.

Recycling tips

For those items that go in "outgoing mail":
This means UCD outgoing mail.  If you are off-site and leave the package for U.S. Mail, they won't know what to do with it.  Note also that we used to have you write "R4" on the box or envelope.  No longer.  Write "Recycle [whatever: batteries, pens, toner cartridges]; our mail staff knows what to do with them.

Won't there be more contamination if we put everything into the same bin?
No. Food is what causes “contamination” of recyclables and food should not be placed into the mixed recycling bins. Recyclables contaminated with food can be rinsed, if convenient, or be placed in the trash. Food-contaminated items do not get recycled, so please do not place them in the recycle bin.

Do bottles and cans need to be rinsed before being placed in the bins?
No, but please empty them first. While it is preferable that containers be placed into the bins be empty, they will be recycled regardless.

Do I have to rinse out my recyclable containers before placing them in the bin?
No. It is not required to do this, though it is preferred if there is a lot of food. Let us rephrase: Please, no food in the recycling bins. But almost everything else goes.

Can recyclables be thrown away in plastic bags?
Yes, however since bags will need to be opened to begin the sorting process, it is preferable that items are not placed in bags.  The bags will be discarded, as they are no longer accepted by recyclers.

What are the exact stipulations of “no food?”
Do not put anything with scraps of food still visible on it into the recycling bins. This may contaminate the rest of the recycling load.

Which plastics should be placed in the recycling bins?
Plastics are numbered 1-7, and 7 includes “all other hard plastics.” Our recycler takes all plastics, except film plastic (e.g., plastic bags). If it turns out that the plastic is not recyclable, it will simply be sorted out at the recycling facility.

If the plastic that I am trying to recycle doesn’t have a number on it, can I still recycle it? 
Yes. While plastics usually have a recycling number on them, if you only have a few of these items, it is safe to place them in a recycling bin. If it turns out that the plastic is not recyclable, it will simply be sorted out at the recycling facility.

Should plastic/glass bottle caps be removed prior to being recycled?
It is preferable to place both cap and bottle in the bin separately.


What are compostibles?
Compostibles generally consist of waste food items, and certain food containers like the take-out containers from UC Davis Medical Center’s four retail food facilities.

What should I do with compostibles
Green bins with compostable posters on them are for food waste and compostable containers. Please do not place compostibles with recyclable materials, as this will cause contamination.

Where will I find the green compostable bins?
These are found at the retail cafes and in most conference rooms. The farther a building is from a retail café, the less likely it is that it will have a compost bin. This is because such locations tend not to generate sufficient compostable waste to make it worthwhile to have a compostable collection service.

Where do the compostable items go?
To a local biodigestor which processes these items into biodiesel.


What does UC Davis Health System do with the money they get from recycling rebates?
The rebates are relatively small and do not even cover the cost to dispose of our large volume of waste. The rebates go to support waste and recycling programs.


How can I get involved/help spread the word about recycling at UC Davis Health System?
What if I have questions or need recycling service? Please contact sustainability@ucdhs.ucdavis.edu