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Recycling at SLU

Saint Louis University plans to increase its waste diversion rate by 30 percent.

SLU introduced single-stream recycling in 2009 and since then has taken steps to make access to recycling easier and universal. Collect paper, plastic, metal and glass in a single blue bin, eliminating the need to sort.

To learn more about single-stream recycling and become an advocate for sustainability at SLU:

  • Read SLU's brochure (PDF) and reference guide on single-stream recycling (PDF).
  • Request a presentation from the Green Billiken. Contact us at
  • Familiarize yourself with the locations of Progressive Waste Solutions dumpsters.
  • Find the locations of BigBelly Solar recycling/landfill units on campus.
  • Check out our FAQ.


Campus Race to Zero Waste Electronic Recycle Drive Event

Yearly, our campus participates in a national intercollegiate competition known as the Campus Race to Zero Waste E-Waste Recycle Event, where everyone can bring their unwanted electronics to a specific location on a set day to have them disposed of in a manner that is better for the environment.

SLU won this competition in 2021!

The 2024 event will take place 7 a.m.-1 p.m., March 26, at SLU's Il Monastero building, 3050 Olive, St. Louis, MO 63103.

MRC Recycling is assisting us with this event.

This recycling competition event is open to everyone. Look around those storage rooms at work and home for electronics that are no longer wanted or needed and bring them in.

Unfortunately, not all items are collected, and some items have a fee associated with them, so be sure to check the list of accepted items and costs (PDF). Some items will require you to bring cash.

Specialty Recycling on Campus


Yard Waste Composting

Yard waste comes from the maintenance of the SLU grounds, whether it's tree branches, bushes, flowers, or other natural plants around campus.

The Department of Grounds Services composts yard waste on campus. All yard waste that cannot be composted on-site (i.e., tree stumps) is composted at the landfill. However, most debris generated from the grounds operation is kept on-site, composted and reused throughout campus. Composting provides needed nutrients for plant life in the flower beds around campus and keeps it out of landfills.

Food Composting

Various on-campus dining locations sort collected food waste as part of the pre-consumer composting process. Pre-consumer, also known as back-of-house composting, includes any food or paper organic waste created or food scraps discarded during food production. Consumers might not readily notice the compost collection process occurring behind the scenes.

Watch for compost totes on campus behind buildings. These containers are generally used by food service workers only. Do not put single-stream recycling items in these containers. Contamination over three percent will force the whole container to be rejected.

All food at Fresh Gatherings Cafe is served on fully compostable plates, cups, bowls, etc. Beverage cups are compostable (both hot and cold). The garden program utilizes seven compost tumblers, one large industrial-sized tumbler, an Earth Tub and a vermiculture system to manage both pre- and post-consumer food waste.


Saint Louis University offers several options for students and employees to donate reusable items. Learn more about donating through the following programs, and let your extra or unwanted items help others in need.

On-Campus Resources

Battle for the Boot

Battle for the Boot is an annual shoe collection that supports the efforts of Shoeman Water Project to provide clean water to developing countries.

Drop off shoes at donation sites throughout campus and the St. Louis community. Each pair of shoes should match, be free of holes and be bound together (tie laces together, connect by rubber band or string, or enclose in a small bag).

You can also help by starting a collection site, volunteering to sort the donated shoes, and spreading the word across campus during the drive.

For more information, contact Yvonne McCool at or 314-977-8957.

Furniture Reuse Program

SLU's Department of Distribution Services offers a simple exchange program for reusing furniture on campus. If a department is redecorating and wants to discard its old furniture, Distribution Services will pick it up. Items that can be donated include, but are not limited to:

  • Desks
  • Chairs
  • Tables
  • Bookcases
  • File cabinets

Items should be in fair to excellent condition.

Once the furniture is collected, it is placed in the furniture showroom in Earhart Hall, which also serves as the University's storage facility for files, mail and packages.

SLU employees can tour the showroom and select items for their on-campus location. Unmarked items can be tagged for delivery to an office or other on-campus location for a small fee and delivery charge. Contact Distribution Services to schedule a tour. Unwanted or excess furniture is donated to a local charity or nonprofit organization. Metal items are often scrapped, earning income that gets reinvested to purchase tools and equipment.

Trash to Treasure: Sustainable Move-Out

At the end of each semester, SLU hosts a sustainable move-out program called "Trash to Treasure." This allows students to responsibly dispose of unwanted items as they move out of their residence halls.

During fall move-out, donation boxes are set up only inside residence hall lobbies with high student turnover. At the end of the spring semester, students can donate gently used items at tents outside of most residence halls.

Items accepted include clothing, furniture, working appliances and electronics, unused toiletries, unopened and non-perishable food items, and either opened or unopened cleaning supplies.

Look for boxes and bins with the Trash to Treasure drop-off zone sign to donate. Donated items will go to MERS/Goodwill, St. Vincent de Paul, Campus Kitchen and Stray Rescue. For questions about what to donate, or if you have large items, email

Off-Campus Resources

ReSpectacle: Year-round for donating prescription eyeglasses.
St. Vincent de Paul: A Catholic charity that helps feed, clothe, shelter, transport, heal and help those in need. They have a location at 100 N. Jefferson Ave., where usable items can be donated.
Wheels for Wishes: A donation program that picks up donated cars and auctions or recycles them. Proceeds go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation to help grant the wishes of local kids with serious illnesses.
Home Sweet Home: A non-profit organization that accepts donations of gently used furniture, kitchen appliances, dishes, linens, etc.  The mission of Home Sweet Home is to give families a sense of pride and to improve the quality of their lives by providing basic household furnishings.

Electronics Recycling

Saint Louis University is dedicated to keeping hazardous materials from entering landfills. To do so, Facilities Services has developed a partnership with Midwest Recycling Center, a nationally certified electronics recycling hauler. Space is provided at Earhart Hall for the storage of larger recyclable items. MRC provides Saint Louis University with a Certificate of Proper Recycling, which documents the materials that transferred ownership at each pickup.

In addition, Facilities Services offers an "anything with a cord" annual e-recycling drive that is open to the SLU campuses and St. Louis community to dispose of broken/unwanted electronics, appliances, etc. in a more environmentally friendly manner. Accepted items include:

  • Computers
  • Phones
  • Radios
  • Refrigerators
  • TVs
  • Most items powered by batteries or electricity
  • Small electronics

SLU also collects many everyday electronic waste items that can be recycled but are not considered bulk e-waste. These items include:

  • Cell phones
  • iPods/MP3 players
  • Digital cameras
  • Laptops
  • Video games and consoles
  • DVD movies
  • GPS devices
  • Calculators
  • PDAs and tablets/eReaders/notebooks
  • Ink and laser printer cartridges

The ongoing program ensures that the items are kept out of landfills. Look for e-waste collection boxes at the following locations:

North Campus

  • Student Government Association Office, BSC Suite 236

South Campus

  • Applied Health Atrium 
  • Salus Center Student Lounge, Room 1401D 

To help us actively monitor these locations and promote sustainability, please email if you notice a box has been filled and needs to be emptied.

Have something you want to get rid of now? Place a service request to have it picked up by Facilities Services.

Ink and Toner Cartridges

The most sustainable practice for recycling empty ink and toner cartridges is to return them to the company from which they were purchased, either on or off-campus.

On Campus

Ink and toner cartridges used by departments on campus should be returned to the vendor from which they were purchased. Reusing empty cartridges is preferable to recycling them as fewer resources are needed for the reuse process.

Xerox, the preferred vendor for purchasing ink and toner at Saint Louis University, shows its commitment to sustainability by offering return services for toners and parts using "Eco Box Kits." Designated Key Device Contacts (KDCs) are typically responsible for ordering Eco Box Kits for your department's devices.

If returning cartridges is not an option, cartridges can be donated as part of the e-waste collection program.


The City of St. Louis has identified multiple locations around the city for recycling ink and toner cartridges.

Nonrecyclable Items

Saint Louis University focuses on reducing and diverting waste when possible. However, some items are not recyclable and should be placed in landfill bins. Nonrecyclable items include:

  • Nonpaper packaging includes chip bags, condiment packets, candy, and energy bar wrappers.
  • Food and liquids: If a recyclable product contains food scraps or liquids, please dispose of these items in landfill bins before placing the container in the recycling bin.
  • Styrofoam: SLU is committed to keeping polystyrene, also known as Styrofoam, off its campuses. However, Styrofoam is a common packaging product purchased off-campus. Styrofoam is not recyclable and does not biodegrade in landfills. If you purchase products that come in Styrofoam, consider opting for a recyclable product, such as a paper container/cup or recyclable plastic container. If you notice Styrofoam being used or sold on campus, please contact the Green Billiken at