Sort It Out: Waste Separation Guidelines

At Champlain College, we strive to reduce waste in a variety of ways. We encourage our community to take the time to learn what goes where, and then sort it out. Our collective efforts are making a difference!

Our main waste separation categories are Reuse, Recycling, Compost, Trash, and Electronic and Hazardous Waste Recycling. So please, know before you throw!


Sort It Out logoTrash & Recycling: Each building on campus contains various black or gray trash bins and blue recycling bins

Electronic Waste: Blue column containers found in Lakeside Cantina, IDX Fireside Lounge, MIC entry, CCM Commuter Lounge, and Freeman 2nd floor entry or the small brown buckets found in each residence hall main lounge/hallway

Compost: Green bins found in most academic buildings and residence halls with kitchens 

Need a bin or labels/signage for existing bins?
Contact us, or print out your own here: (all 8.5 x 11, pdfs) - Trash - Recycle - Compost

What goes where?

Click on the items below to find out more.

Bikes Cans & Bottles Batteries Food Waste
Books Cardboard & Boxboard Small Electronics "E-Waste"  
Computers Confidential/ Shredded Paper Fluorescent Bulbs
Office & School Supplies Glass Toner/Laser/InkJet Cartridges
Packing Materials Junk Mail
Surplus Furniture Office paper, Newspapers & Magazines K-CUPS
Clothing, etc. to Donate/Consign



Have a bike you no longer want? Contact our Transportation Office and they'll gladly assist in repurposing the bike.


We collect books of all types (text books, popular reading, etc.). We keep current text books as part of our Pay It Forward effort to share relevent books with students who can use them. Pay it ForwardWe send the rest to Better World Books. There are collections at the end of each semester, but books can also be brought to the Swap Shop at any time during the year.


For college-owned equipment, Champ Support / IT Support re-purposes older - but still functioning - machines, either within the Champlain community or with a partnering organization. If the machine no longer functions, it will be recycled with Good Point Recycling. Personal computers can be taken to ReSource on Pine Street.

Office & School Supplies

Have more paperclips than you need? Looking for a notebook for class? Check out the Swap Shop in Skiff 011.

Packing Materials

Styrofoam peanuts, bubble wrap, etc. can be brought to the Mailroom.

Surplus Furniture

Put in a work order for Physical Plant to pick up furniture you no longer need. Unused furniture is stored at the Physical Plant warehouse at 40 Sears Lane, which is also a great place to 'shop' if you are in need of something.

Clothing to Donate / Consign

Have clothing or other items you're looking to donate or consign? Bring them to the Swap Shop in Skiff 011, or to any of these donation or consignment shops in the area:

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Champlain has an "All-in-One" Recycling program where primary recyclables (paper, plastic, glass, and tin) can all go into one bin. They are sorted out down the road at the Materials Recovery Facility. Check out this short film to see how it works. See CSWD's web site for the latest information on what can be recycled in the standard blue-bins.  Where do materials go after the MRF? Markets shift frequently, with some materials staying in the state (glass) and other materials heading to other parts of the country or the world. 

Cans & Bottles

The following food and beverage containers can be recycled in the bins throughout all buildings on campus.

Please DO Recycle:

  • Glass bottles and jars (food and beverage only; all colors)
  • Steel, metal, or "tin" cans
  • Aluminum cans (soda, beer, etc)
  • Aluminum foil and pie plates
  • Plastic bottles and jugs (All Numbers)
  • Plastic Dairy tubs (yogurt, cottage cheese, margarine, etc.)
  • Clear plastic hinged "take out" containers
  • Hard Plastic Frozen-Food Trays
  • Plastic containers that are more than 2" on any 2 sides.
  • Plastic flower pots
  • Plastic lids that are larger than 2" in diameter
  • Plastic caps that are ON the bottle

Please Do NOT Recycle:

  • Small plastic caps or lids, unless they are ON the bottle
  • "Bio-degradable" or PLA-plastic
  • Glass light bulbs, dishes, ceramics or drinking glasses.
  • Plastic utensils, cups or plates
  • Plastic bags or "film" plastics
  • Styrofoam cups or plates.
  • Plastic toys or household items
  • Motor oil containers (discard as trash)

For more detailed guidelines, visit the CSWD's A to Z guide and recycling specifications.

Cardboard & Boxboard

Cardboard boxes must be emptied and flattened. Office staff must place boxes next to the recycling bins inside buildings. Custodial staff will bring boxes to designated cardboard dumpsters located outside.

Please DO Recycle:

  • Corrugated cardboard—has the "wavy" layers inside
  • Pizza boxes are okay, as long as they are not greasy.
  • Soda cartons.
  • 6-pack, 12-pack, or 24-pack boxes

Please Do NOT Recycle:

  • Wax coated boxes, such as broccoli boxes.
  • "Yellow" cardboard
  • Pizza crust, food, napkins
  • Excessive packing tape or duct tape
  • Plastic utensils 

Confidential / Shredded Paper

Departments must make their own arrangements for shredding confidential papers to safeguard the security of confidential information. If your office shreds paper on site, please leave shredded paper in clear plastic bags and place next to the recycling bins in your central recycling collection area. This helps to minimize mess and litter from the little bits of paper that tend to blow around outside and at the recycling facility. The shredded paper will get recycled. There are SecureShred boxes in several locations on campus (Skiff Hall, Perry Hall, Lakeside).


Food-grade glass bottles and jars that held food or beverages can be recycled in the same bin along with plastic bottles and metal cans.

Please DO Recycle:

  • Glass bottles (e.g., beverage, juice bottles)
  • Glass jars (e.g., spaghetti sauce, peanut butter jars)

Please Do NOT Recycle:

  • Pyrex or high-temperature glass
  • Laboratory glass
  • Plate glass, mirror, or window glass.
  • Light bulbs
  • Broken glass

Junk Mail

Receiving snail mail you don't need, such as credit card offers or catalogs? Use DMA Choice and/or CatalogChoice to take yourself off of many mailing lists.

Office Paper, Newspapers and Magazines

Many types of paper can be recycled together. Put these materials in any recycling bin found throughout all buildings on campus.

Please DO Recycle:

  • Newspapers
  • Glossy Magazines and Catalogs
  • Computer/Copier Paper
  • Writing Paper
  • Envelopes (Windows okay)
  • Opened "Junk Mail"
  • Brochures
  • Manila Folders
  • Staples are okay

Please Do NOT Recycle:

  • Paper face masks
  • Tissues, Kleenex or paper towels
  • Photographs or resin-coated papers
  • NCR or "carbonless" paper
  • Plastic transparencies or film
  • Food or candy wrappers
  • Paper cups, plates or any paper that has come in direct contact with food or the human body!
  • Rubberbands or large metal clips
  • Pendaflex Folders
  • Carbon Paper

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Hazardous Waste Recycling


Batteries are found in numerous electronic devices, cell phones, MP3 players, laptops, computers, watches, cameras, etc. Batteries may contain any of several heavy metals, including mercury, lead, nickel, zinc or cadmium. They may also include corrosive liquids (sulfuric acid) or reactive metals (lithium).

For this reason, batteries on the Champlain campus should not be put in the regular trash or recycle bins. Please place batteries in the blue E-Waste Collection tubes found in IDX, MIC, Ireland, Lakeside, or bring to the ChampSupport office in Rowell Annex.

See this slide deck for more details. 

Small Electronics / "E-Waste"

"E-waste" is used to describe all the spent supplies and obsolete accessories associated with computers and electronics. E-Waste includes storage devices, CDs, floppy disks, hard drives, Zip disks, cell phones, iPods, cables, cords, parts of circuit boards, video tapes, PDAs, etc.

Please don't throw your E-Waste in the regular garbage or recycling bins. Keep these materials separate so we can recycle valuable resources, keep hazardous materials out of the landfill and ensure protection of privacy since the recycling company shreds the electronic media we send them. Please place small electronics in the blue E-Waste Collection tubes found in IDX, MIC, Ireland, Lakeside, the brown marked containers in res halls, or bring to the ChampSupport office in Rowell Annex. 

See the e-waste poster and this slide deck for more details. 

Fluorescent Bulbs

Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFLs) contain mercury. If your bulb no longer works, wrap bulbs in a manner to minimize risk of breakage and put in a work order to have Physical Plant pick it up. For students in the residence halls: have your RA contact Physical Plant to have it picked up.

If a fluorescent light bulb breaks, do not use a vacuum cleaner to clean it up. Wear disposable rubber gloves, if available. Carefully scoop up the fragments and the mercury (white) powder with stiff paper or cardboard. Wipe the area clean with a damp paper towel or disposable wet wipe. Sticky tape (such as duct tape) can be used to pick up small pieces and the powder. Place all parts of the broken fluorescent bulb, towels and tape in a clear plastic bag. Wash your hands afterward.

Toner, Laser, Ink Jet Cartridges

If you have toner, laser, or inkjet cartridges that you cannot send back to be refilled (often an option for many of our large copiers, so check here if Symquest will take them back) you can either drop them off in the copy room in the basement of Skiff, the 2nd floor mailroom at Lakeside, or the Helpdesk office in Rowell Annex. You can also bring them to Staples on Rt. 2/Main Street to be recycled. Learn more information about the recycling program at Staples.

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Many people ask what do to about K-cups. Here are a couple of options:

1. Use the refillable cups such as these.

2. Send them to be recycled through the Grounds to Grow On program. Champlain's Information Systems department currently supports the recycling boxes found in Rowell Annex and Lakeside and Admissions supports the boxes in Perry Hall.

3. better yet... don't use them!

See this article by Sustainable America for more information...


Composting is a process that takes organic waste, such as food scraps and yard waste, and turns it into a nutrient-rich soil. At Champlain College, as of Fall 2021, food waste is collected each day by our waste hauler, Casella, for composting at area biodigesters (see this article for details).  As of January 2022, formerly 'compostable' cups, plates, and containers are no longer accepted. See details here. 

Food Waste

Food waste is collected in most academic buildings as well as residential halls with kitchens. 

DO Compost Do NOT Compost
  • Fruit & Vegetable Peels
  • Any Food Leftovers
  • Coffee Grinds/Tea Bags
  • Meat Scraps & Bones
  • Dairy & Cheese Products
  • Noodles & Pasta
  • Paper towels and napkins - only if they DO NOT contain body fluids or chemicals of any kind
  • Wooden or bamboo stirrers, toothpicks (no plastic frills), chopsticks   
  • Certified, clearly labeled compostable bags used for lining food scrap containers  
  • Newspaper and untreated paper bags used to line food scrap containers  
  • Dishes or Silverware
  • Plastic Coffee Creamers or Stirrers
  • Styrofoam Cups
  • Plastic Bags or Saran Wrap
  • Food Wrappers
  • "Compostable" plates and cups

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As for what gets sent to the landfill (located in Coventry, VT), it is basically anything that cannot be reused, recycled, or composted (from your candy bar wrapper to bubblegum to plastic wrap to styrofoam). There are a number of items that are not on the lists above that can be reused, recycled, or composted—so contact us if you have a question. Our goal is to really limit what we send to that big hole in the ground!

Thanks to the UVM Recycling Office for some content.

Still Unsure? Contact us with your questions.

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Sort it Out logo designed by Melissa Kennedy '11