Frequently Asked Questions


Why should I recycle?

The average office employee generates 1-3 pounds of waste each day; ½ pound of which is high-grade, recyclable paper.

  • Recycling 1 ton of paper saves: 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space, 17 trees, and 7,000 gallons of water. Recycling 100 lbs. or a 36 inch stack of newspaper saves 73 kilowatt hours of electricity, about 14% of the average residential electric bill, enough to light 100 watt bulb more than 700 hours, 2 gallons of gasoline.
  • The manufacturing of post-consumer recycled paper generates 50% less air and water population and requires 64% less energy.
  • Recycling 1 lb. or 26 aluminum cans will save ¾ gallon of gasoline. light a 100 watt bulb for 290 hours, and play a radio for 3 hours a day for 4 months. Recycled aluminum products require 95% less energy to manufacture.
  • Recycling 100 lbs of glass saves 29 kilowatt hours of electricity, light a 100 watt bulb for 290 hours, and play a radio 3 hours a day for 4 months.
  • Recycling 1 plastic bottle powers a computer for 25 minutes

What materials can I recycle?

  • Mixed paper: White writing paper and stationary, tablet paper and tablet cardboard, white and colored copy paper, computer paper, colored triplicate forms, post-its, paper wrappers, magazines, newspaper, blueprint paper, all envelopes, junk mail, telephone books, paperback books, manila folders, cereal/cracker boxes, corrugated cardboard.
  • Beverage and food containers (glass, steel, and tin).
  • Plastic bottles and cups with the #1 and #2 recycling symbol on the bottom.
  • Aerosol container with no remaining propellant.
  • Printer cartridges.
  • Batteries.

What can’t I recycle?

  • Carbon paper, waxed coated papers, plastic coated paper, tissue or paper towels, paper or containers contaminated by food or other organic waste, plastic film and plastic containers with #3-#7 recycling symbol on the bottom, Styrofoam, yogurt cups, pizza boxes.

How do I recycle?

  • Place recyclable materials in any campus recycling container.
  • Keep all recycling containers free of trash.
  • Empty glass, aluminum and plastic containers before recycling them.
  • Paper must be dry and free of food, dirt, oil and other debris.
  • Remove metal, plastic bindings, rubber bands and plastic bags. Staples do not need to be removed.
  • Remove lids from glass containers and flatten cans and plastic bottles whenever possible.

Which campus recycling containers must I use?

  • Recycling containers can be found paired with nearly every trash container on campus. No sorting is required.

Are printer and toner cartridges recyclable?

  • You can now recycle your small printer cartridges by mailing them in convenient postage-free, plastic bags provided with the cartridge. You can also take printer and toner cartridges to the Stockroom for recycling, J201.

How often and when are the recyclables collected?

  • Recyclable as well as trash are collected daily, or as needed, by Facility Services. To report an overfilled container, please call Facility Services at 388-2814.

Why is it profitable for the College to recycle?

  • San Diego Mesa College realizes significant cost savings from waste diversion. As part of our new contract we will not have to pay for pick up of recyclables. This is in contrast to $40/ton that it costs to haul waste to the Miramar landfill.

Does the campus community have to recycle?

  • Yes, all state institutions, including community colleges, are required by law - AB75 - to divert 50% of their waste from the landfills by January 1, 2005. While Mesa College has met this target for waste reduction, let's all continue to work together to increase recycling.