How to Recycle at Saint John’s

Recycling logoRecycling is pretty easy at Saint John’s. The commingled recycling system is available in students’ individual residences, staff and faculty offices, public areas, and in the recycling bins outside. We’ve tried to answer your most common recycling questions and to make our list of recyclables as complete as possible. Some students even made a video to explain the system. Still “stumpf’d?” (Get it?) Contact us! We’d be happy to help you.

How do I know what I can recycle?
Explore the links below to find out what you can and can’t put in the commingled system. Some things, like electronics and light bulbs, can't be recycled in the commingled system, but they can be recycled in other ways! See the details below to find out how.

Okay, so I’ve collected a bunch of recyclables; how do I get rid of them?
Students, staff, and faculty are responsible for taking out the recyclables that they collect in their rooms and offices. Simply empty your recyclables into the recycling carts with yellow lids or the recycling dumpsters near your building. If your recyclables are in a plastic bag, please empty the bag into the recycling carts or dumpsters. Then either re-use the bag or throw it in the waste dumpster—plastic bags aren’t allowed in the commingled recycling.

But the dumpster’s already full!
If the dumpster looks full, check the rear hatches; usually the recyclables pile up in the front of the dumpster, leaving lots of room in the back. If the dumpsters are truly full on a consistent basis, contact us, and we’ll have SJU Custodial Services check it out. We need you to let us know if there are problems with the recycling system so that they can be fixed.

What to Recycle in the Commingled System


Accepted items
How to recycle
Items not accepted
  • Plastic bottles and containers #1–7
  • Rinse containers to remove residue, if you can.
  • Microwave trays
  • Containers used for chemicals or automotive products (oil, antifreeze, etc.)
  • Rubber products
  • Styrofoam cups and packaging material
  • Photographic film
  • Plastic bags
  • Polyvinyl sheeting
  • Heat shrink wrapping
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Paper and Cardboard

Paper and Cardboard
Accepted items
How to recycle
Items not accepted
  • Office paper (any color)
  • Magazines
  • Junk mail
  • Envelopes (envelopes with windows on them are okay)
  • Newspaper
  • Flyers
  • Brochures
  • Post-it notes
  • Books
  • Wrapping paper
  • Flattened cardboard (boxes with tape or labels on them are okay)
  • Paper tubes
  • Cereal boxes
  • File folders
  • Posterboard
  • Paperboard
  • Paper cardboard dairy and juice containers
  • Just put clean, dry paper into the bin.
  • Staples don't have to be removed.
  • Please flatten boxes—this makes more room for other peoples’ recyclables.
  • Remove liners made of plastic or waxed paper, as well as all styrofoam packing material.
  • Wet, waxed, or soiled paper
  • Used paper towels
  • Used paper plates
  • Compostable cups
  • Photos
  • Carbon paper
  • Soiled cardboard (such as cardboard stained with pizza remains)


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Accepted items
How to recycle
Items not accepted
  • Tin food cans
  • Steel food cans
  • Aluminum beverage cans
  • Aluminum foil
  • Aluminum pie tins
  • Empty aerosol cans
  • Empty and rinse cans to remove all food residue, if you can.
  • Remove labels from tin cans.
  • Cans used for chemicals or paints
  • Aerosol spray cans that aren't empty
  • Appliances, power tools, or batteries
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Accepted items
How to recycle
Items not accepted
  • Juice, pop, and water bottles
  • Beer and wine bottles
  • Food jars
  • Remove lids. If the lids are metal, they can be recycled, too.
  • Rinse to remove residue.
  • Careful! Don’t break the glass.
  • Light bulbs
  • Window glass
  • Drinking glasses
  • Mirrors
  • Broken glass
  • Ceramics
  • Porcelain
  • Glass cookware/bakeware
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Things That Can Be Recycled, but Need Special Treatment

  • Rechargeable batteries and cell phones
    We'll take cell phones, laptop batteries, or any other rechargeable batteries, and we'll even pick them up for you. Just go to the battery recycling page, fill out the information, and click “Submit.” For more options for recycling your old cell phones, check out these 5 suggestions!
    Do not put batteries in the commingled system!
  • Printer Ink Cartridges and Toner
    Printer ink cartridges and toner cartridges can be recycled. The SJU Office of Sustainability will pick these up from your office or on-campus residence too! Just send an email to [email protected] letting us know when and where we can pick them up. It's just that easy!
    • CRT-containing devices, like televisions and computer monitors.
  • E-waste
    Consumer electronics such as TVs, computer equipment, and DVD players contain toxic metals and chemicals. Protect yourself and the environment: keep them out of the trash. In Minnesota, many consumer products are banned from the trash and must be recycled as e-waste, including:
    • CRT-containing devices, like televisions and computer monitors.
    • Flat-panel video displays typically contain one or more mercury-containing lamps.
    • Rechargeable batteries and battery packs
    • Fluorescent bulbs and tubes, including compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)
    Anything that has a circuit board in it, banned or not, should NOT be thrown in the trash. Please choose one of the following options for recycling e-waste:
    • On-campus e-waste recycling
      • IT Services recycles College- and University-owned electronic equipment, such as computers, laptops, monitors, keyboards, computer boards, printers, and scanners. For more information, please see their policy.
      • If your e-waste does not fall under IT's policy, you may contact Custodial Services at (320) 363-2666. The charge is per pound with a minimum of $36.00. Please provide an account number (not a student ID number) or a check written out to “Saint John's University.” This service is only intended for waste generated on campus, i.e. employees cannot bring e-waste from home to recycle it here.
    • List of off-campus e-waste recycling options, including FREE recycling
    • List of manufacturer recycling programs

Non-Recyclable Items

  • Soiled paper or cardboard
  • Styrofoam
  • Broken glass
  • Food scraps
  • Towels and tissues
  • Liquids
  • Fabrics (Good, used clothing should be donated.)
  • Ceramics
  • Porcelain
  • Waste
  • Wood
  • Plastic bags
  • Photos
  • Compostable cups
  • Paper plates
  • Plastic covers
  • Wax-coated paper
  • Microwave trays

Recycling Video

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