Check out this list for guidance on what to do with specific items you no longer need. If you have questions – or further ideas for other items to list, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Food and the Break Room
|Creamers, Milks, Sugars||Disposal: Sweetener packets go in the trash. Plastic containers larger than 2-3 inches, if empty, can be recycled in the blue recycling bins. Single-serving plastic creamer ‘cups’ are too small to be captured.|
Best Practice: Buy these ingredients in bulk recyclable containers and not in single-use packaging, such as sweetener packets. Find great containers at second-hand stores for storage.
|Coffee Filters||Disposal: Used coffee filters go in the trash. |
Best Practice: Use a reusable filter if you have either a single-use coffee machine (such as ones that use K-cups) or a standard coffee maker.
Remember! K-cups cannot be purchased with City funds.
|Frozen Food Trays||Disposal: Frozen food trays are only recyclable if they are solely plastic. Make sure they’re clean! They cannot be recycled if they are trays that look like they have both paper and a waxy coating. The paperboard box the tray comes in is recyclable. The plastic film on top of the tray goes in the trash. |
Best Practice: Make your own frozen meals with glass Tupperware, which can save you money and time! Here’s a helpful link to get you started.
|Paper Plates||Disposal: If only made of paper, put in recycling can if it is clean. If it is food soiled or waxy/plastic coated, place in the trash. |
Best Practice: Use regular kitchen plates made of materials such as ceramic, glass, or metal. It’s cheaper to buy durable plates than continuously buying paper plates, saving money. Buying office kitchenware from a thrift store is an extra bonus because you’re supporting local businesses, reusing good materials, and avoiding making extra trash!
|Plastic Cups||Reuse: Reuse existing plastic cups by washing them by hand. |
Disposal: Recycle your empty plastic cups in the mixed recycling bin.
Best Practice: Use reusable cups made of sturdier materials, such as glass, ceramics, or metal. It’s cheaper to buy durable cups than to continuously buy plastic, saving money. Buying cups for the office from a thrift store is a double win because you’re supporting local businesses, reusing good materials, and avoiding making extra trash!
|Plastic Silverware||Reuse: Wash by hand and reuse. |
Disposal: Put in the trash bin.
Best Practice: Use reusable silverware made of sturdier materials, such as bamboo or metal. It’s cheaper to buy durable silverware than to continuously buy plastic. Buying silverware for the office from a thrift store is an extra win because you’re supporting local businesses, reusing good materials, and avoiding making extra trash! If plastic silverware must be purchased, looks for products made with recycled content.
|Plastic Water Bottles||Reuse: Rinse by hand and reuse. |
Disposal: Place in mixed recycling bin. Make sure it is empty, otherwise the liquids can contaminate other recyclables!
Best Practice: Purchase reusable cups or water bottles and refill from the sink, drinking fountain, or water cooler. Buy a Brita or Berkey Filter if you wish.
Remember! Our Comprehensive Sustainability Policy does not allow City funds to purchase plastic water bottles unless there is no reasonable source of water available.
|Straws||Reuse: Rinse and reuse. |
Disposal: Place in the trash.
Best Practice: Buy a reusable straw to carry with you, otherwise ditch the plastic straw all together if you can!
|Take-out Containers (Aluminum)||Reuse: Rinse and reuse. |
Disposal: Place in recycling bin when empty, clean, and dry. If food cannot be removed adequately, put take-out containers in the trash.
Best Practice: Bring your own Tupperware to restaurants. For events like potlucks, bring cookware from home.
|Take-out Containers (Styrofoam)||Reuse: Do not reuse!|
Disposal: Put in the trash bin.
Note: Do not use Styrofoam whenever possible because it has negative impacts on the environment and can be a health hazard. Even if the container has a recycling symbol on it, the container is not recyclable.
Remember! Styrofoam products cannot be purchased using City funds.
|To-Go Coffee Cups/Plastic Cups||Reuse: Rinse and reuse to-go coffee cups before throwing them away.|
Disposal: A clear, plastic cup and the plastic lid attached is recyclable. The cardboard sleeve from a hot drink can be recycled but paper/wax cups are not recyclable. Hot drink lids and straws are not truly recyclable because they are made of plastic (usually #5 or #6) that cannot be remade into anything and are too small to successfully make it through the recycling facilities.
Best Practice: Bring your own mug with you – many cafes will offer discounts when you bring in your own!
|Water Filter Systems||Reuse: If it is not broken, ask around other departments if anyone else needs one! |
Disposal: Brita products can be recycled through Brita’s recycling program. Otherwise, check with the product’s company to see if they do a recycling take-back program. Some companies, such as PUR, don’t have mail-in or drop off-options for recycling in Utah and will have to go in the trash. Check for recyclable materials and dispose of in trash. Berkey filters are gravity-fed and don’t require frequent replacement.
For general office cleaning supplies. Don’t forget! All cleaning products should be Green Seal or Ecologo certified to minimize common chemical use according to the Comprehensive Sustainability Policy.
|Paper Towels||Disposal: Paper towels must go in the trash because while they are made of paper, their fibers are too short to be useful for recycling. |
Best Practice: Buy cloth towels or reuse old rags for cleaning. If purchasing paper towels, buy ones made with recycled content.
|Sponges||Disposal: Must go in trash. |
Best Practice: Use sponges with recycled content or ones that are 100% cellulose so they will degrade faster. Use washable towels or scrubs when possible.
|Spray Bottles||Disposal: Recycle the main plastic bottle in the mixed recycling bin if clean and dry. The bottle nozzles/pumps are not recyclable in the mixed recycling bin because they are usually a mixed material or too small to make it through the recycling system.|
Most office supplies can be purchased with some level of recycled content at competitive prices. Check with your existing contracts for best purchases and don’t forget to consider the packaging of the product – aim for minimal, recyclable packaging.
|Binders||Reuse: If they are not broken, give to another department that needs them or post on the City’s Surplus Property exchange.|
Disposal: Place in trash.
|Clipboards|| Reuse: If they are not broken, give to another department that needs them or post on the City’s Surplus Property exchange.|
Disposal: Place in trash.
|File Folders||Reuse: If they are not broken, give to another department that needs them or post on the City’s Surplus Property exchange.|
Disposal: Separate any plastic from the paper and recycle that paper in the mixed recycling bin. Any small pieces of plastic from the labels should be put into the trash.
|Pens, Pencils, Highlighters, Markers, etc.||Disposal: Writing utensils are not recyclable in the blue recycling bins because they are too small to be captured in the recycling process and are usually made with mixed materials, such as different plastics or plastic and metal. Place in the trash.|
Best Practice: Use refillable mechanical pencils and pens to extend the life of the products.
|Ink/Toner Cartridges||Disposal: You can request your ink supplier to pick up your used cartridges when they deliver new goods. |
Bonus! Check in to see if any companies offer a discount program for recycling used cartridges.
|Light Bulbs||Disposal: Fluorescent or compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs can be taken to the second floor security desk of the City and County Building or check with your facilities manager to see if they will take light bulbs back for recycling. Other light bulbs may be thrown in the trash.|
|Paper||Disposal: All paper can go in the mixed recycling bin, such as office paper, newspaper, glossy paper, wrapping paper, magazines, cereal boxes, etc. Do not put tissue paper, toilet paper, paper towels, or any soiled paper products into the mixed recycling bin. |
Reuse: Use unused pieces of paper as scrap paper. Follow the Comprehensive Sustainability Policy‘s guidelines for printing.
|Paper Punches/Cutters||Reuse: If they are not broken, give to another department that needs them or post on the City’s Surplus Property exchange.|
Disposal: Place in trash.
|Post-It Notes||Reuse: Make sure to use both sides of each post-it note to save paper and work digitally when possible. |
Disposal: Post-It notes can be recycled in the blue recycling bin as mixed paper. It is more likely that the post-it notes will make it through the recycling system if they are gathered together and placed in paper bags or paper envelopes before going in the recycling bin so they don’t fly about during transport or recycling.
Best Practice: Purchase post-it notes made with recycled content or use scrap paper as appropriate.
|Rubber Bands||Reuse: If they are not broken, give to another department that needs them or post on the City’s Surplus Property exchange.|
Disposal: Must go in the trash.
|Rulers||Reuse: If it is not broken, give to another department that needs them or post on the City’s Surplus Property exchange.|
Disposal: Must go in the trash. Metal rulers can be collected with other miscellaneous scrap metal.
|Scissors||Reuse: If it is not broken, give to another department that needs them or post on the City’s Surplus Property exchange.|
Disposal: Must go in the trash. Metal scissors can be collected with other miscellaneous scrap metal.
|Staplers||Reuse: If it is not broken, give to another department that needs them or post on the City’s Surplus Property exchange.|
Disposal: Must go in the trash. Metal staplers can be collected with other miscellaneous scrap metal.
|Trash/Recycling Bins||Reuse: If it is not broken, return to the Facilities Department or have your Facilities personnel pick it up. |
Disposal: Check with the Facilities Department.
E-Waste & Appliances
|Electronic Waste||If it is any City owned e-waste, contact IMS for pickup. These items include but are not limited to: computers, laptops, cords, chargers, modems, projectors, printers, fax machines, flash drives, hard drives, GPS systems, digital cameras, phones, keyboards, computer mice. For personal e-waste, take it to the HHW drop-off at the Salt Lake County Landfill.|
|Batteries||Disposal of rechargeable, non-alkaline batteries: These batteries are usually recycled and disposed of as e-waste along with the appliance they come with. They contain heavy metals and also are dangerous if thrown in the garbage or recycling bins where they can explode. If you have loose rechargeable batteries, please contact the building’s Facilities Manager to request pick-up of batteries or collect batteries in a box to be taken to the HHW drop-off at the Salt Lake County Landfill. Learn more here. |
Disposal of alkaline batteries: They are less dangerous than non-alkaline batteries for disposal. The Salt Lake County Landfill does recycle them if dropped off. To save carbon emissions, drop off as many items at once as needed to prevent multiple trips. Otherwise alkaline batteries may be thrown in the garbage.
Best Practice: Use rechargeable batteries. They are a durable good, so are more environmentally-friendly and can be recycled at the end of their life.
|Block Styrofoam||Disposal: Can be recycled at Marko Foam which will be recycled back into Styrofoam products. |
Reuse: Reuse Styrofoam as applicable.
Best Practice: Use other materials for shipping and packaging, such as cardboard form or old newspaper that can then be recycled.
|Hard Plastic and Paper Packaging||(Such as packaging materials for scissors, packs of pens, etc.)|
Disposal: Place any paper (usually paper or card stock) in the recycling if larger than a credit card. If smaller pieces are placed in the recycling, it is unlikely they will make it through the machinery. The plastic should go into the trash.
Best Practice: Look for products that are packaged in minimal, recyclable material.
|Packing Peanuts||Disposal: Packing peanuts can often be reused at shipping companies. Check with your local shipping company (such as UPS) to see if they accept packing peanuts. |
Reuse: Reuse existing packing peanuts as applicable.
Best Practice: It’s preferable that you utilize other materials when shipping goods, such as air pockets or shredded paper– or purchase biodegradable packing peanuts.
|Plastic Wraps and Plastic Bags||Disposal: Plastic wraps and plastic bags can be taken to many grocery stores around Salt Lake City, such as WinCo, Smiths, Walmart, and more. Check with your local stores to see what types of plastic wraps/bags they accept. Commonly accepted materials at retail stores are: plastic grocery bags, bread bags, newspaper bags, Ziploc bags, case wrap, etc.|
Reuse: Reuse existing plastic materials as possible.
Best Practice: Use reusable bags, and more durable materials to wrap foods, such as waxed fabrics and recycled materials.