Zero Waste

What Goes in Each Bin?

Waste sorting can be confusing, and there's only so much information which can be put on a sign. We've created the guide below to help answer questions about what products go in each bin. Still have a question? Email or call (818)-677-4493 for more detailed information on where different materials should be placed.

What materials belong in each of the new bins?


Food Wrappers/Containers

  • Candy wrappers
  • Chip/snack bags
  • Juice pouches
  • Coffee pods and K-Cups
  • Paper cups
  • Straws
  • Plastic utensils


  • Dishware
  • Flower pots
  • Vases and glass figurines


  • Paper plates and cups
  • Facial tissue
  • Gift wrap with plastic or metal
  • Laminated or plastic-coated paper
  • Padded or Tyvek-type envelopes
  • Photographs
  • Hardback book covers
  • Stickers


  • Disposable gloves (latex, nitrile, vinyl etc.)
  • Styrofoam
  • Bubble wrap
  • Unusable clothing and fabric







  • Plastics numbered 1-7 (Plastic #7 products labeled as "compostable" go in the landfill bin)
    • Soda, juice & water bottles (keep plastic caps on)
    • Milk & Water jugs (keep plastic caps on)
    • Rigid plastic containers, crates and trays
      No plastic bags or plastic wrap


  • Tin and aluminum cans
  • Aluminum foil, pie tins, and serving trays (clean)
  • Empty aerosol cans
  • Scrap metal
  • Steel cans, dishware

Paper (clean and dry)

  • Drink and soup cartons
  • Paper egg cartons (clean)
  • Envelopes
  • Paper file folders
  • Junk mail
  • Magazines
  • Milk and juice cartons
  • Newspaper
  • Paper (white and color)
  • Paper bags
  • Paperback books
  • Post-it notes


  • Clean cardboard and corrugated boxes
  • Cereal boxes and similar
  • Frozen food boxes


  • Amber, green and mixed-color glass
  • Clear glass jars
  • Beverage bottles
  • *No laboratory or window glass

Food Waste

All Food Scraps

  • Bread, rice, pasta, baked goods
  • Cheese and dairy
  • Coffee grounds and tea bags
  • Flowers and herbs
  • Fruits and vegetables (cooked and raw)
  • Meat, bones, poultry, seafood

Unbleached Food-Soiled Paper

  • Brown paper napkins and paper towels
  • Paper coffee filters

Other Foodservice Products

  • Wooden toothpicks
  • Wooden coffee stirrers

*Bio-plastics and plant-based plastics (PLA) are not 
compostable or recyclable, and should go in the Landfill bin.

*Most paper plates and cups have a plastic lining, and should go in the Landfill bin



















Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I need to clean out recyclable containers and jars?

All containers placed in the recycling bin should be empty. Cleaning out empty containers (for example, a peanut butter jar) will increase the material's value and increase the likelihood that it is recycled, however, it is not strictly necessary.

Why have the bin colors changed?

CSUN is changing the color of its recycling and organics streams to match the City of Los Angeles' curbside bin colors. Green (formerly bottles and cans) now represents compostable/organic items. All recyclable are now comingled in the blue bin, and landfill waste goes in the black bin. This change was also made in anticipation of upcoming requirements by CalRecycle that would standardize bin colors for waste streams statewide.

What about large boxes that won't fit in the blue bin?

Cardboard boxes should be flattened and placed behind or next to the recycling bin. If you have 5 or more boxes, you can contact Associated Students at x4262 or email to arrange for them to be picked up.

What about other recyclable items, such as ink cartridges and personal electronics?

These unconventional recyclables are still processed by Associated Students. Call extension x4262 or email to arrange a pickup, or drop them off at the Sustainability Center. Batteries can be recycled through Environmental Health and Safety, extension x2401.