Frequently Asked Questions About Recycling


Recycle Truck


What is Dartmouth’s Waste Centralization program?

The Waste Centralization program is a system for collecting trash and recycling from offices, classrooms, and conference rooms. The program focuses on heightening individual awareness of how much trash is produced and maximizing recycling habits. With this program there are centralized locations for collecting recycling and trash, and employees carry their trash (in small, plastic containers) and recyclables to that central location.

The Waste Centralization program, in partnership with Casella, uses the Zero-Sort™, or single-stream, approach to recycling. Mixed paper, cardboard, aluminum cans, glass, and plastic are all collected in one container, and then processed by specialized equipment at the recycling center in Rutland, VT

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What do you mean by “solid waste”?

Solid waste refers to all the trash and garbage that Dartmouth generates. It includes all of the recyclable items, plus things like plastic food wrappers that can’t be recycled. Dartmouth’s Waste Centralization program aims to improve the rate of recycling and decrease the amount of solid waste thrown out, thus diverting more from the landfill.

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What’s the difference between “zero sort” and “single stream” recycling?

Both terms describe a method of recycling where paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, and aluminum cans are co-mingled as they are collected. Dartmouth works with Casella Waste Systems to recycle these items, which are mechanically separated at a facility in Rutland, VT 

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What do I do if my plastic trash container needs to be cleaned?

The plastic trash bucket can be cleaned in restrooms or kitchen areas; it is dishwasher safe.

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What if the plastic trash container needs to be replaced? How do I get another container?

To get a replacement trash container contact the assigned building custodian, email Facilities.Operations.and.Management@Dartmouth.EDU, or call the custodial office at 646-2050.

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Can I recycle  food packaging, napkins or empty pizza boxes? Should I rinse cans and bottles?

Items with lots of food residue, napkins and paper towels should go in the trash, not the recycle bin. However, pizza boxes with a few crumbs are okay to recycle. The plastic “clam shell” take-out containers should be lightly rinsed or wiped. Bottles and cans should be empty; there's no need to rinse them out. Dartmouth recycles #1-7 plastic.

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Does the Waste Centralization program save money?

Dartmouth launched the Waste Centralization program to improve its recycling rate, not to save money. The college expects that centralized collection will allow custodial staff to focus on more complex cleaning tasks such as restroom sanitation and floor and carpet maintenance.

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What are materials like batteries and computers recycled?

These items are referred to as Universal Waste, which is hazardous waste that contains mercury, lead, cadmium, and other substances harmful to human health. Universal Waste includes batteries, fluorescent light tubes, and electronic devices.

Electronic waste, like computers, monitors, keyboards, phones, and iPods, are recycled by Castaway Technologies. Dartmouth works with Northeast Lamp Recycling of East Windsor, Conn., to recycle light bulbs, fluorescent tubes, and batteries.

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How do I dispose of toner cartridges?

Dartmouth participates in the Konica Minolta Clean Planet Program. To recycle your toner cartridges, go to the following website: to register. They offer two different programs depending upon the volume of cartridges your department disposes of. If you need help during this process, please call 855-453-2784 for assistance.

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How do I throw out batteries?

Each building has one or more battery bins for collecting spent batteries of all sizes. Call 646-2050 or email Facilities.Operations.and.Management@Dartmouth.EDU to find battery bin location nearest you.

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Where does our recycled material go?

The Zero-Sort™ items (paper, cardboard, cans, plastic, glass) are processed by a facility in Rutland, VT.

Universal Waste is processed by Northeast Lamp Recycling of East Windsor, CT.

Computers and cell phones are recycled by Castaway Technologies in Methuen, MA.

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How does Dartmouth track its recycling and waste management efforts?

For Universal Waste, Dartmouth receives documentation from the vendor stating the product and manufacturer's information and weight. Universal Waste is monitored by state law through transportation manifests from Dartmouth to its reclamation destination. Casella provides metrics on the Zero-Sort™ recycling materials they haul away.

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If you have additional questions, please call 646-2050 or send an email to Facilities.Operations.and.Management@Dartmouth.EDU.