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Recycling Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about recycling at NAU. If your question is not answered below feel free to send us an email at email@example.com. As of Spring 2023, there are new changes coming to how NAU recycles, for more information please refer to the first four drop downs below.
Questions about the new recycling system:
Why is the recycling system changing? Accordion Closed
As part of NAU’s sustainability journey, the Office of Sustainability is very excited to announce that we are revamping our indoor recycling and landfill bin system. This project is a collaboration between the student-led NAU Green Fund and the NAU administration. Upgrading our indoor bin system is long overdue and greatly needed. A lack of campus-wide uniformity in bins has been an issue for some time. Because bins across our buildings are not consistent in placement, design, and color, students, faculty, and staff might be confused about which materials should go to which bins. This revamp will streamline the system and will increase recycling on campus. Once deployed, we will be evaluating the effectiveness of the system and will make adjustments if needed.
What do I need to know about the changes to on-campus recycling? Accordion Closed
If your building is getting a new recycling and landfill bin system you may have some questions.
Here are some key features of the new system:
- Recycling bins will be blue with a white recycling symbol and landfill bins will be brown with a landfill symbol.
- We will provide added capacity for both recycling and landfill bins in common areas.
- Deskside bins will only be for recycling. Landfill materials can be disposed of in common hallway bins. This strategy will allow for more effective use of scarce custodial time, improve recycling rates, and decrease recyclable contamination.
- In most cases, large lobby unit bins with both recycling and landfill bins will be placed outside of classrooms, instead of small bins inside the classroom.
When will my building get the new bins? Accordion Closed
The Office of Sustainability is working on the purchase of the bins and is anticipating a gradual deployment throughout the spring 2023 semester. You can expect to see the bins in your building being replaced over the next one or two months. Here are a number of considerations and requests regarding the deployment.
- We will reach out with more communications and updates closer to when the new bins will be placed in your building.
- We know that change requires adjustment and ask for your patience and collaboration as we go through this process.
- Departments should not purchase and install additional garbage bins for offices. Similarly, we ask that faculty and staff do not bring their own personal bins, as that will add to the workload of our custodial staff and will impact the uniformity of the bin system.
- If the location and/or density of the hallway bins is not ideal, please let us know so we can work to resolve the issue
What will the new bins look like? Accordion Closed
Recycling bins will be blue with a white recycling symbol and landfill bins will be brown with a landfill symbol.
Will I still have a bin at my desk? Accordion Closed
Deskside bins will only be for recycling. Landfill materials can be disposed of in common hallway bins. This strategy will allow for more effective use of scarce custodial time and improve recycling rates and decrease recyclable contamination.
If my trashcan is taken away from my desk, where am I to throw my trash away? Accordion Closed
There will be uniform binning systems in common areas throughout the buildings. These common area bins will be serviced by the Custodial staff. Desk-side recycle bins will still be available, and we are hoping that this will allow for more captured recyclables from buildings.
Can I purchase my own trash can for my desk? Accordion Closed
Departments should not purchase and install additional garbage bins for offices. Similarly, we ask that faculty and staff do not bring their own personal bins, as that will add to the workload of our custodial staff and will impact the uniformity of the bin system. These bins will not be serviced if they are not bins distributed by NAU.
What about classrooms? Accordion Closed
In most cases, large lobby unit bins with both recycling and landfill bins will be placed outside of classrooms, instead of small bins inside the classroom.
Questions about how you can help the environment:
What are some ways I can help lower my impact? Accordion Closed
The Office of Sustainability knows that change requires adjustment and asks for your patience and collaboration as we go through this process. We have a few small behavior changes to suggest that can help lower your impact. We suggest using reusable water bottles and carrying reusable bags since plastic bags are not recyclable. We also recommend bringing your own coffee mugs, as plastic and paper coffee cups should not end up in the recycle bin.
Questions about what can be recycled:
What should go into a recycling bin? Accordion Closed
Refer to the City of Flagstaff’s recycling page to learn more. Currently accepted materials are as follows: metal cans and pans (empty and clean), paper and cardboard (flatten boxes), plastic bottles, jugs, and jars only (no other plastics – no plastic cups/straws; no liquids; no organics).
Why is contamination bad? Accordion Closed
When contaminants interact with recyclables, the quality of the recyclable is reduced or eliminated. Contamination is considered to be any material that is not accepted in Flagstaff’s recycling collection. Contaminated items can include food, styrofoam, plastic bags, medical waste, glass, etc. Plastic bags are one of the largest contaminants because they wrap around sorting equipment, causing shutdowns and malfunctions.
Can I recycle napkins, food waste, compostable bags, compostable cups, or compostable cutlery? Accordion Closed
All of these items are compostable but not recyclable. The white compostable Pepsi cups can be disposed of in the union in specially marked containers. They will then be composted on campus. All other compostable material can be taken home for a home compost pile or placed in a landfill bin.
Can I recycle my paper coffee cup? Accordion Closed
Paper cups and plastic lids are NOT recyclable in Flagstaff. However, the cardboard sleeve can be recycled. Starting in Fall 2018, try out the new O2Go reusable cups available at most campus coffee shops. Buy into the program for $5 and save 50 cents every time you purchase a beverage. Return the cup to the kiosk and NAU will wash it and send it back to the coffee shop.
Can I recycle plastic bags and bubble wrap? Accordion Closed
Plastic bags and bubble wrap clog up the machinery at the Flagstaff Materials Recovery Facility. Therefore they cannot be recycled in campus bins. You can, however, drop these off at specialty recycle bins at most grocery stores.
What do I do about glass? Accordion Closed
Glass CANNOT go in the comingled recycle bins across campus, but you can recycle glass at NAU at eight drop-off locations. Find a location near you. There are also other drop-off locations around the City of Flagstaff. To find a location visit the City of Flagstaff drop-off locations page. Learn more about what happens to glass and Glass Collection Guidelines.
How do I recycle books? Accordion Closed
Hardcover books must be torn from their covers in order for the insides to be recycled as paper and the covers to be recycled as cardboard. Soft back books can be recycled as they are. If you have large quantities of books please take them to the recycling dumpster nearest your building. Alternatively, books can be taken to Property Surplus.
Can I recycle Styrofoam? Accordion Closed
Styrofoam is NOT recyclable in Flagstaff. We are striving to be a Styrofoam-free campus. We encourage the creative reuse of these materials. To dispose of them correctly please take them to a landfill dumpster.
Can I recycle foam packing peanuts and other mailing supplies? Accordion Closed
A. Foam packing peanuts and other mailing supplies are not recyclable. We encourage the creative reuse of these materials and consider bringing them to NAU Postal Services. To dispose of them correctly please take them to a landfill dumpster.
Can I recycle wire coat hangers? Accordion Closed
Wire coat hangers damage the machinery at the Flagstaff Materials Recovery Facility. We encourage the creative reuse of these materials. To dispose of them correctly please take them to a landfill dumpster.
Can I recycle small office supplies like paper clips and staples? Accordion Closed
Small office supplies are not recyclable at our Materials Recovery Facility. We encourage the creative reuse of these materials. To dispose of them correctly please take them to a landfill dumpster.
Questions about industrial recycling:
Where can I recycle batteries? Accordion Closed
Batteries can be dropped off at the Union and Du Bois information booths as well as brought to Facility Services (building #77) on south campus. If you have 9-volt or button-style batteries as found in watches or small electronics please tape them over the terminals.
How does NAU handle our leftover paint? Accordion Closed
NAU’s Facility Services Paint department works hard to use resources sparingly and to recycle everything they can. They try to use up all excess paint and dispose of any leftover paint responsibly. At the end of the year, they take any excess paint and collect it on a pallet to be picked up and sold at Property Surplus. Any paint that can’t be sold there, they pay a company to pick up and use for primer and unique bulk painting jobs like graffiti cover-up and dumpsters.
Where can I recycle light bulbs and ballasts? Accordion Closed
Light bulbs and ballasts can be brought to Facility Services (building #77) on south campus.
How do I recycle office furniture and equipment including computers, monitors, printers, scanners, copiers, fax machines, mimeo machines, and photographic equipment? Accordion Closed
Office furniture and equipment should be taken to Property Surplus.
Where do I take printer toner? Accordion Closed
All departments must bring their empty toner to Property Surplus.
Questions about recycling confidential items:
How do I destroy/recycle confidential documents? Accordion Closed
Confidential materials should be shredded and disposed of in the NAU-provided recycle bins. The facility NAU uses for document disposal is the Flagstaff Materials Reclamation facility (MRF). The MRF is a non-bonded warehouse and confidentiality cannot be 100% secured through this course.
If there is a need for confidential document destruction, please coordinate directly with MAKOSHRED, (928) 522-6256. The Work Control Center and Facility Services will not coordinate MAKOSHRED services for the requestor.
How do I destroy and recycle confidential material if I do not have a shredder? Accordion Closed
The department should place a request for shredding and disposal of material directly with MAKOSHRED, (928) 522-6256. The Work Control Center and Facility Services will not coordinate MAKOSHRED services for the requestor.
How do I request non-confidential bulk document pickup and recycling? Accordion Closed
The department can use the campus provided recycle bins for disposal, or submit a Facility Services work request online, or by phone 523-4227, for pickup and disposal of materials.
*Please note: There is a fee for services provided by Facility Services.