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Why Should I Recycle?

Why can't I recycle pizza boxes?

How do I recycle my plastic bags?

Where can I recycle electronic waste?

Do cans and bottles need to be rinsed out before being recycled?

Where does all the recycling go?

What do the numbers on plastic products mean?

How can I get a recycling bin?

Why should I recycle if our trash is being used to generate energy?

I am interested in a career in Sustainability, who can I talk to?



Recycling is a simple way that you, as a consumer, can help preserve earth’s natural resources.
Making products with recycled material slows the depletion of non-renewable resources such as metal, oil and natural gas.

It takes less energy to make products with recycled materials than virgin materials.  For example, it takes 20 times more energy to make aluminum from bauxite ore than using recycled aluminum.  Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to power a computer for 3 hours.

Because most energy in the United States is generated by burning fossil fuels, using less energy means generating fewer greenhouse gases that cause climate change.

Recycling isn’t just good for the environment, it’s good for business.  By recycling you are supporting a growing industry in the United Sates.  Recycling protects and expands U.S. manufacturing jobs and increases 
U.S. competitiveness.

Recycling is incredibly easy - but make sure to learn how to recycle properly!



In general, food is the worst contaminant for a recycling stream.  You can't recycle any type of paper (pizza boxes, paper plates, paper cups, etc) that have been contaminated with food (water is ok) because the grease from the pizza, food, etc. seeps into the paper or cardboard which makes it unrecyclable.  Water is used at the paper pulping plant to separate the paper fibers so that they can be made into new paper, if oil or other food seeps into the paper it makes this separation process impossible. 

Take a look at your pizza box, paper plate, etc.  If the paper or cardboard is clean, go ahead and recycle it, if it's greasy or covered in food please put it in the trash.



There is no plastic bag recycling on campus.  Major retailers such as Shaws and Target have recycling available in store.  When you are going shopping just make sure you take them with you!

It is important to recycle plastic bags because plastic bags are so pervasive.  Plastic doesn't biodegrade, it photodegrades meaning it slowly breaks down into smaller and smaller bits that can contaminate soils and waterways.  It never breaks down entirely and can poison animals. 

When one ton of plastic bags is reused or recycled it saves the equivalent of 11 barrels of oil! - Earth 911




In 2010, Bentley’s Eco-Reps implemented an electronics recycling program for the Bentley campus. The electronics recycling program will allow students, faculty and staff to recycle a large variety of electronics, without having to pay for the shipping cost of doing so.

Electronics collected on campus are packaged in special tubs and boxes provided by

  and are shipped to their facility for proper recycling.

Electronics Recycling Bins are located:

  • By the Student Information desk in the Student Center
  • Downstairs in Morison by the Service Learning Office

Some local stores also collect electronics recyclables. For example Staples will give back $2 in Staples Rewards for every ink cartridge recycled. Check the Staples website for more information.

Check out the Electronics Recycling page for more information:



Yes - cans, bottles, shampoo containers, yogurt cups etc. should be rinsed or emptied before being placed in a recycling bin. This is important because leaking soda could deem other recyclables useless. Recyclables don't have to be spotless, its just important that they aren't going to leak.

If you're recycling on the go and rinsing your cans isn't an option - no worries just try to dump as much liquid as you can!



The sorting machine takes advantage of the different properties of recyclable materials. For example, the magnetism of cans and the various weights of different plastics. To fully understand how the sorting machines works (MRF) watch this neat video!




There are seven different numbers that you find on the bottom of items made of plastic.  These numbers were created as a way to categorize and identify the different types of plastic according to their chemical make up. Use this website as a guide for information on these numbers.



If you are faculty/staff: each office or cubicle should be provided with one small (“desk-side”) recycling bin.  Should your office or cubicle be missing a recycling bin please put in a work order with Facilities Management here.  Your bin will be delivered in five to 10 days.

If you are a residential student: each first-year room is provided with one small (“desk-side”) recycling bin and each apartment or suite is provided with one tall (“slim jim”) recycling bin. Should your room/apt/suite be missing a recycling bin please put in a work order with Facilities Management here.  Your bin will be delivered in five to 10 days.


Despite the benefits of the waste-to-energy process, recycling is still found to have far greater net energy savings than waste-to-energy processes. Research shows that taken together, the manufacture of products from recycled materials plus the processes of recycling, use considerably less energy than the manufacture of new products from virgin sources, plus the incineration of those products in a waste-to-energy facility. 

The energy savings are due mostly to the substantial reduction in energy use associated with manufacturing products from recycled materials, relative to manufacturing products from virgin materials.

Single-Stream Recycling

Bentley University has a single-stream recycling program; luckily for us that means no sorting. All you have to do is keep trash and recycling separate. Not sure what is recyclable and what's not? Here is your guide!


Frequently Asked Recycling Questions:

Q: Sometimes there are food remnants in my disposable container. Does it need to be completely clean in order to be recycled?

A: Yes.  If you are not able to rinse out the container it is best to put it into the trash.  Even bits of food or a small amount of liquid can contaminate other recyclables. 

Q: Does single-stream mean I can throw my batteries and old cell phones in my dorm's recycling bin?

A: No, these items are considered hazardous waste as they contain acids and chemicals that can leak into water systems. The "single-stream" applies to plastics, bottles, and paper products on campus. Drop off your electronics recycling at the two e-waste stations on the first floor of Morrison and on the bottom floor of the Library near the Help Desk. Find out more.

Q: Where is all our recycling and trash being hauled when it leaves campus? 

A: Click on the map to see the locations of our trash, recycling and pre-consumer compost facilities. All of our facilities are within 50 miles of campus, while our recycling and compost facilities are within 15 miles of Bentley.

To learn more about this process click here.


Electronics Recycling

Where can I recycle electronics?                                                                                                                                

The Office of Sustainability has set up stations to recycle batteries, cell phones, hand-held electronics and inkjet cartridges. Locations are on the ground floor of the Library (next to the client services desk) and on the first floor of Morrison Hall.                 

Find out how to recycle your personal electronics and Bentley-owned electronics below. 


The Story of Stuff: Behind the Lifecycle of Electronics

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Personal Electronics


While we allow students, faculty, and staff to recycle batteries, cell phones and small handheld devices on campus, Bentley does not provide recycling services for large personal electronics.  Large electronics can be recycled in a number of ways. When recycling electronics, always remember to completely wipe the memory!

  1. Best Buy offers free recycling services for electronics, even if you didn't buy them at Best Buy!  The closest Best Buy to Bentley's campus is in Watertown, MA.   This is a great example of a company taking responsibility for the full life-cycle of their products.  We call this: "Extended Producer Responsibility." (Don't live near a Best Buy? Check out  You can enter your zip code to search for local places to recycle electronics and many other household products)
  2.  Drop off working electronics at the Give 'N Go stations at the end of Spring Semester, where they will be taken by other Bentley students or donated to a local charity.
  3. Most towns provide "Household Hazardous Waste Days" or "Electronics Recycling Days" several times per year where residents can leave electronics at the curb for pick up. Some towns require residents to drop electronics off at the Department of Public Works.  Check out your town's website and look under "DPW" or "Solid Waste and Recycling" for more information.


Bentley-Owned Electronics


Networked Printers, Copiers, and Fax Machines

Networked printers, copiers, and fax machines are marked with a network tag or ID. Please contact Client Services if you have a networked printer, copier or fax machine that you will no longer be using in your department. Client Services will pick up the item, test it and determine if it can be re-purposed on campus.  If the item is not able to be used on campus it is sold, donated or properly recycled by a certified electronics recycler.

Tag & Snag for Bentley-owned, Non-networked Printers, Copiers and Fax Machines

The Office of Sustainability provides recycling services for printers, copiers, fax machines and scanners used in Bentley departments and purchased on a Bentley University purchasing card.  Faculty and Staff may set aside large and small electronics (batteries, CDs/DVDs, VHS tapes, CFLs) that are no longer of use to the department for pick up and recycling on Tag & Snag Days.

How to Tag & Snag:

  1. Check the list of acceptable Tag & Snag electronics.
  2. Group electronics together (placing smaller items like batteries and cords in boxes) and label them "electronics recycling." 
  3. Fill out a work order online (or call x2208) at least 5 days in advance for the movers to pick up your electronics. To fill out a work order go to the Facilities Management website and click on "service requests" on the right side of the page.  You will need to use Internet Explorer to open the work order system.  Enter you Bentley ID in the "caller ID" box.
  4. Include the following information in the work order: "Please pick up electronics recycling at [building and room number] on the [month, date] Tag and Snag day."

Please put items in boxes so it will be easy for Facilities Management to take away with a dolly.  Please do not request blue recycling totes to store the materials as these can be quite heavy and difficult to empty once full. 

If you are recycling CFLs used in your office please place them in a separate box so that they do not get crushed.


Zero-Sort v. Trash Sign


Zero-Sort Sign


Tag & Snag Signs (faculty and staff)

List of Acceptable Electronics for Tag & Snag

Office Moves

What to recycle and donate during your office move


Bentley Water Filling Station Map


Bentley Bike Rack Map

Access the Printable PDF

I am interested in a career in Sustainability, who can I talk to?

Please contact the EEGS LSM advisor in the career center or the Office of Sustainability staff at We would love to talk to you!