Waste Diversion Guide

Plastic bags artfully structured in the shape of a tornado

The information on this page was compiled to help students, staff and faculty in the Department of Chemistry effectively manage waste and to align the department with UC Davis' long-term commitment to environmental, economic and social sustainability. The key to sustainability is ultimately more than putting things in the "right" places, though: it is about conserving resources and reducing consumption.

If you have questions about developing sustainable solutions within or outside the department, please do not hesitate to contact Minh Hoang. Students and faculty may also have their chemistry laboratory Green Lab certified. Contact the Green Workplace Program at (530) 754-8763 or greenworkplace@ucdavis.edu to get started!


Compost logo

Compost collection bins are available by the Chemistry Loading Dock. Composting diverts matter from landfills and turns it into a resource, such as nutrient-rich soil or biogas. Composting food waste also reduces methane production, a prominent greenhouse gas that contributes greatly to global climate change.

Items that go in the containers for composting on campus are items that can break down in nature relatively easily or under the right conditions. If you are interested in learning how to compost at home, get in touch with ASUCD Project Compost, located behind the Bike Barn!

All food products
  • Fruits, vegetables, grains, cereals, dairy
  • Leftovers and table scraps
  • Meat, bones, fish
  • Pizza, popcorn, etc.
Food-related items
  • Paper egg cartons
  • Food soiled paper products – napkins, paper plates, paper cups (Starbucks cups), pizza boxes, paper cupcake liners
  • Corks from bottled beverages, corkboards, etc.
  • Bioplastic products – cups, straws, lids, etc. that are made from corn and are marked 'compostable' on the package
  • Coffee grounds, coffee filters, tea bags
  • Chopsticks, toothpicks and bamboo skewers – wooden only
  • Milk containers, waxed paper containers (not to be confused with Tetra Paks, plastic-coated paper cartons); please remove plastic spigot if applicable
  • Spudware – utensils and tableware made from potatoes or other biodegradable materials
Non-food related items
  • Biodegradable or compostable trash bags (BioBags, etc.)
  • Cardboard, used matches
  • Old clothing items – 100% cotton or wool only
  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton swabs (made with cotton or cardboard sticks, no plastic sticks)
  • Hair
  • Items labeled as 'compostable' or 'biodegradable'
  • Lint (from the clothes dryer)
  • Paper – copy paper, newspaper, sticky notes, receipts, paper towels, paper towel rolls, tissues, etc.
  • Pencil shavings
  • Plant materials – dead flowers, leaves, plant trimmings, etc.


Recyclables logo

There are many clearly marked bins for recycling throughout the department and on campus. Recycling helps conserve natural resources, save energy, protect the environment and reduce landfill waste. When we recycle, used materials are converted into new products, reducing the need to extract raw materials from the Earth through mining and forestry.

Did you know? Aluminum and glass can be recycled and remanufactured an infinite amount of times and never wear out!

  • Aluminum cans
  • Aluminum trays and foil rinsed
  • Steel and tin cans
  • Lids from jars

No propane tanks, electronic or computer equipment

  • Glass food jars
  • Glass beer bottles
  • Glass wine bottles
  • Other glass food and beverage jars and bottles

No auto glass, ceramics, flourescent light bulbs or tubes, incandescent light bulbs, mirrors, window glass, Pyrex®, porcelain, wine glasses, dishes/plates/bowls, glass vases

Plastics #1 thru #7

Plastic #1 is found mostly in soda bottles, water bottles, salad dressing containers, mouthwash bottles and peanut butter containers.

Plastic #2 is found mostly in milk jugs, household cleaner containers, juice bottles, shampoo bottles and detergent bottles.

Plastics #3-7 (i.e. yogurt cups and Starbucks cold drink cups) have a limited recycling market, but they are now accepted in all Bottles/Cans/Glass recycling containers or mixed recyclables containers on campus.

Plastic air pillows, common in shipment packages, along with other types of plastic film (grocery bags, produce bags, food storage bags, etc.), are accepted for recycling in stores such as Safeway and Target. To find a drop off location near you, visit www.plasticfilmrecycling.org.

DO NOT put plastic film into campus or neighborhood curbside recycling containers.

  • White or colored paper
  • Sticky notes
  • Envelopes
  • Magazines
  • Newspaper
  • Paperboard (i.e. snack or cereal boxes)
  • Paper grocery bags
  • Phonebooks
  • Junk mail
  • Non-metallic wrapping paper

No tissues, paper towels or food-soiled paper (these can be composted), paper with plastic coatings (such as photographs or label backing), foil-lined paper


Corrugate cardboard must be flattened and taken outside to be recycled in the tan bin on the Chemistry Loading Dock.

Pizza boxes free of grease and/or food may be recycled in the tan bin as well, but if the box is contaminated with grease and/or food residue, it should be deposited in a compost bin.

Expanded Polystyrene (i.e. Styrofoam)

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) is 98% air but takes up volumes of landfill space and is not biodegradable. A drop off collection container for recycling EPS is located on the Chemistry Loading Dock.

Packing peanuts are not accepted in the collection container, but you may package them in a box and send intercampus to "Mail Services - Recycle" (see flyer).

Wooden pallets and oversized recyclables

Place a work order with Facilities to arrange for pick up and recycling at a nominal fee.

Electronic Waste (E-Waste)

E-waste logo

The term "e-waste" is loosely applied to consumer and business electronic equipment that is near or at the end of its "useful life."  Many of these products require special care for disposal and, by California law, are banned from the trash.

A 'small e-waste' collection bin is located in the North Lobby of the Chemistry Building. Our Machine Shop accepts large, University-owned e-waste; please submit a request online first (Chemistry Salvage and E-Waste). Certain e-waste items, like large toner cartidges, may be sent intercampus to "Mail Services - Recycle" (see flyer).

Small e-waste for North Lobby collection bin
  • Batteries
  • Small electronics and cords
  • CDs
  • DVDs
  • Toner and inkjet cartidges
  • Cell phones
Large items for "Chemistry Salvage and E-Waste" (non-functioning)
  • Desktop and laptop computers
  • Monitors and keyboards
  • Phones
  • Printers and faxes
  • Projectors
  • TVs and VCR/DVD players
Functioning electronics

Aggie Surplus will determine the marketability of an item. Acceptance of items is subject to space availability and the current stock on hand. They also accept furniture.

  • Appliances
  • Computers
  • Cords and cables
  • Faxes and scanners
  • Keyboards and mice
  • Miscellaneous electronics (i.e. PDAs, cell phones, projectors)
  • Monitors
  • Printer cartridges (new)
  • Printers and copiers
  • Servers

The Aggie Reuse Store (located behind the Bike Barn) also accepts donations of functioning electronics. Submit an online form if you have something to donate, and a representative will contact you.

Hazardous Waste

Hazardous waste logo

Many common products require special care for disposal and, by California law, are banned from the trash. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), household chemicals and paints are some of the items that must be specially disposed of. These items are not collected within the department, but Safety Services will dispose of unneeded hazardous chemicals and radioactive material from laboratories with no EH&S recharge (at least through June 30, 2017).

Check with your local waste management authority for disposal of household hazardous materials and/or contact Earth911/1-800-CLEANUP for information.

Hazardous Waste
  • CFLs
  • Aerosol sprays
  • Glue and Adhesives
  • Household cleaners
  • Mercury thermometers
  • Nail polish and remover
  • Paint, oil, and latex
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Solvents
  • Syringes (containerized)
  • Unknown substances

Residential Recycling Information

Most of the information on this page is specific to UC Davis. Please refer to the following websites for information about recycling in your residential community.

Other Resources

There are many resources available online about recycling and sustainability. Oftentimes, it can seem daunting and unnecessarily confusing. These websites may provide additional guidance. Staff member Minh Hoang also welcomes all questions. Other campus contacts include Sue Vang, Waste Reduction and Recycling Program Manager, and Allen Doyle, Sustainability Manager.