Waste Minimization and Recycling

Source Reduction Initiatives

The most preferred option for decreasing the amount of waste we produce begins with reducing the amount of single-use or short-lived items we use on campus. Offices on campus partner with the Office of Sustainability to strategize waste reduction techniques including decreasing paper usage, changing purchasing habits, and determining alternatives to single-use items. 

Waste Diversion Initiatives

When it is not possible to reduce waste at the source, we work towards the next best options: reusing, recycling, and composting.

Swap Shop Club

Hami-down 'Gate

Photo showing rows of donated items, including rugs, lamps, cleaning supplies, and other household goods.
Donated items are sorted before being donated to community partners both on and off-campus.














Colgate is located in Madison County, which features a two-stream recycling process. Always ensure to properly sort recycling into the bin for its proper stream:

  • Paper products
  • Bottles and cans

All recycled items must also be clean to avoid contamination in the recycling process. For more information about Madison County's recycling guidelines:

Obsolete or broken small electronic devices (eWaste) should always be recycled.  Simply collect eWaste in a common area in your department or common area.  When enough waste is collected, submit a work order to have it collected and properly recycled.  All of Colgate's eWaste is taken to EWASTE+, an R2/RIOS and NAID certified recycler in NYS.  Learn more about what can and cannot be recycled at Colgate by visiting the EWASTE+ website.  

  • Cell phones
  • Batteries
  • Compact discs
  • Digital cameras
  • iPods
  • Cables and cords
  • Printer cartridges
  • Calculators
  • Other small electronic devices

Larger Electronic Devices

Larger devices such as Colgate-owned television sets, computers, and printers are collected by ITS. Call the ITS Service Desk at 315-228-7111 for assistance.

Terracycle is a company that offers recycling solutions for unusual items. We have several Terracycle specialty collection boxes, including for plastic packaging, razors and blades, and disposable masks. If you have an unusual item on campus that you would like to know if the Office of Sustainability can recycle, contact us at sustainability@colgate.edu.

Several blue 5-gallon buckets full of compostable items, such as produce scraps, eggshells, etc.
Buckets of produce scraps, eggshells, and other backyard compostable items are picked up each week.

Starting with a pilot program in Spring of 2021, the members of the Colgate Community Garden established a composting program with a majority of the student houses along Broad Street. The 5 gallon buckets of compost are collected weekly, weather permitting, and are taken to a space near the Community Garden, where it is then used to fertilize the garden beds. Campus houses and apartments with fewer residents can also be provided with a compost tumbler on site that is emptied only as needed.



Tips for Minimizing Personal Waste

Some keys ways that everyone in the community may help to reduce campus waste include:

  • Carry and fill a reusable water bottle at one of the many refill stations across campus. Find locations on the campus map.
  • Bring a reusable mug and save $.50 for beverage orders at Chobani at the Hieber Café and the Coop.
  • Take only the food you will eat when dining at Frank Dining Hall.
  • Carry in your own reusable utensils when dining at Chobani at the Hieber Café or the Coop.
Learn what happens to the items placed in recycling bins on Colgate's campus.

Water Bottle Refill Stations