recycling at colby-sawyer

We recognize that it is essential to make wise use of the natural resources available to us—to be sure that we do not consume resources faster than they can regenerate. At Colby-Sawyer, we continue to expand our recycling and composting programs and encourage students, faculty and staff to keep organic and reusable materials out of landfills.

What Can I Recycle in "Zero-Sort" Bins?

Colby-Sawyer processes trash and recyclables using a "zero-sort" system, enabling us to recycle a larger variety of materials with less hassle. For more information, view the Zero-Sort Recycling List or check out signage located at our recycling collection centers.

Where Do I Bring My Recycling?

Recycling is available in all residence halls and administrative buildings—some with stations on multiple floors. Please keep these areas tidy and recycle whenever you can. For more information, view Where to Recycle and Recycling in Residence Halls.

What Else Can I Recycle?

We also collect Hard(er)-to-Recycle Items that may require specialized handling. If you have a reusable item to recycle, please contact Recycling Coordinator, Janet St. Laurent at

What About Composting?

According to the EPA, yard and food scraps account for 26 percent of household waste. Not only do these organic materials take up unnecessary space in landfills, they also decompose anaerobically (without oxygen) producing methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

By composting we reduce our contribution to climate change, save on hauling fees and produce better soil. Sodexo Dining Services' Chows for Sows program turns food scraps into meals for local pigs. The Facilities Department collects leaves and other plant material for use in beautification projects. And our Vermicompost system, located in the Environmental Studies Green Suite, uses worms to break down food waste and creates nutrient-rich material for the Anne Baynes Hall Seedling Lot and Organic Garden.

To start composting in your building or department, please email Professor Leon-C. Malan at

The Six Rs

Most of us are aware of the "Three R's" (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle), but there are even more R's to keep in mind:

  1. Refuse: The average U.S. citizen consumes about twice as much as compared to 50 years ago. Everything we purchase, and use, takes energy and natural resources to produce and keep running. Before making a purchase, consider if it is really necessary and try to buy less. When we refuse, we save money and help the planet.

  2. Reduce: To reduce waste, buy in bulk and look for items with less packaging. We should also try to reduce the amount of toxins we generate, the amount of unnecessary miles we drive, and the amount of paper we use.

  3. Repair: Before we get rid broken items and spend money on new ones, we should try to fix it. Remember that old Yankee adage: "Use it up, wear it out, make it do."

  4. Reuse: Many things can be reused by someone else (like hand-me-down clothes) and other items can be adapted to new uses (like the sap bucket with a hole in the bottom that becomes a flower pot). Use empty food containers or jars for storage of leftovers, nuts and bolts, or office supplies.

  5. Recycle: The list of what can be recycled in communities is growing all the time, so we should check before we throw it away. Remember that non-traditional items can also be recycled, such as eyeglasses, cell phones and ink cartridges.

  6. Rebuy: In order for recycling to be profitable and accessible we need to buy materials (carpets, clothing, paper, etc.) that are manufactured with recycled content. We can also rebuy items by going to thrift stores, consignment shops and yard sales.