Macalester works  with local recycling company, Eureka, to reach our Zero Waste goals.


One of the College’s sustainability goals is achieving Zero Waste by 2020.

Macalester has adopted the definition prescribed by the International Zero Waste Alliance to reach this goal.  With their updated definition, Macalester will be considered Zero Waste when we regularly divert 90% of our total waste from a landfill or incinerator.


Facilities Services manages the recycling of household appliances on campus.


Compost all food, tea bags (staple removed) and coffee grounds, as well as used paper products (napkins, tissues, cotton balls, etc.). Additionally, all packaging or wares from all Bon Apetit catering events and retail locations on campus can be composted. You can even compost greasy paper and cardboard, like pizza boxes. More information


Recycle unsoiled paper and cardboard, aluminum, steel, & tin cans, plastics #1,2,4,5,7 (look inside the recycle symbol), glass, even broken glass, and aluminum foil. More Information

Special Disposal

Recycling Oddities

Waste Waste Type Drop off location
Batteries, Computer e-waste ITS Help Desk, Neill Hall 314
Batteries, Household specialized Campus Center Mail Room, Lower Level
Books specialized Library, First Floor
Cartridges, Ink jet e-waste ITS Help Desk, Neill Hall 314
Cartridges, Toner e-waste ITS Help Desk, Neill Hall 314
Electronic waste e-waste ITS Help Desk, Neill Hall 314
Fluorescent Bulbs, CFL hazardous Facilities Services, Lower Level Campus Center
Fluorescent Bulbs, tubular hazardous Facilities Services
Fluorescent Bulbs, broken hazardous Contact Facilities Services for cleanup
Paper, one-sided speciality Onesies collection bins throughout campus
Packing Peanuts re-use Campus Center Mail Room, Lower Level
Plastic film or bags specialized Plastic film containers throughout campus
Polystyrene specialized ITS Help Desk, Neill Hall 314

There are a variety of non-reusable items that cannot be placed in the Macalester Recycling bins, but which can be responsibly recycled at various locations on and around campus.


Drop off unwanted books at the Library – books that can’t be used on campus will be sent to Better World Books.


Use the Zero Waste Event Guide to plan your next event to make it a Zero Waste event.


The ITS Help Desk, Neill Hall 307, is the primary collection point for electronic waste on campus. Small items such as radios, cell phones, and computer components, can be brought to the e-waste recycling bin located in the Mail Room on the lower level of the Campus Center.

Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Any fluorescent bulb – including compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) – are toxic and state law requires special disposal. A collection bin for CFLs is located on the lower level of the campus center.

A broken fluorescent bulb of any kind is hazardous and dangerous; please contact Facilities Services immediately for safe clean up.

One-sided Office Paper

There are bins around campus where students, staff, and faculty can leave extra paper or paper printed on only one side. This paper is later collected for the onesies recycled notebooks produced at the library. Each first year gets a notebook at the beginning of their journey at Macalester.

Plastic Bags

Clean and dry plastic bags can be brought to the ITS help desk.


Macalester has a relationship with a local vendor that will recycle our polystyrene waste for free. Drop off your poystyrene with the Help Desk on the third floor of Neill Hall.

Items must be solid pieces and free of tape, glue, cardboard, paper, labels, or any other contaminants. Items not meeting these requirements will not be accepted.

The more flexible polypropylene is not recyclable and must be thrown in as trash.

Paper Use

The Sustainability Office, in collaboration with MCSG, the library, Student Affairs, and ITS, is implementing a program to help balance the competing interests of paper use and sustainability. See the 500 Sheets Balance Program’s FAQ list for more information.

ITS Paper Use

Macalester College Information Technology Services maintains a list of ITS Sustainability Initiatives.

DeWitt Wallace Library Paper Use

At a library, one of the greatest roadblocks to sustainable behavior is the use (or misuse) of paper. It is with this in mind that the library has worked to increase its sustainability in a variety of ways. More Information.


Toss out any chip bags, plastic wrappers, styrofoam (if its not clean #6 styrofoam), and all plastic packaging without the recycling symbol.