Compost & Recycling

Seattle University’s Recycling department manages the university’s solid waste streams, including recycling, compost, and garbage. The department has received numerous awards for its innovative waste management programs, including our universal three-bin system and on-site composting facility.

We also offer special recycling for hard-to-recycle items like batteries, textiles, and Styrofoam across campus to reduce our waste as much as possible. We have set an ambitious goal of reaching zero-waste by 2025 and work every day to meet it. Please read below for more information on recycling and composting at SU, and reach out to us with any questions or comments. Thank you!

  • What Can I Put in a Recycling Bin?

    • Paper — All colors, coated cartons and cups too. Must be dry (wet, food-soiled, or shredded uncoated paper goes in the compost bin!)
    • Cardboard
    • Plastic — Please keep the caps on your empty plastic bottles, and bag your plastic bags together. Must be empty, clean and dry.
    • Metal — All types of empty metal containers and scrap metal!
    • Glass — All types of empty glass containers!
  • What Can I Put in a Food Waste + Compostables Bin? 

    • Any and ALL food scraps
    • Plant and yard waste
    • Food-soiled paper (like paper plates or pizza boxes) and compostable to-go-ware
    • All to-go ware from Seattle U's cafe's and catering services is made from compostable plant-derived plastic or paper. This includes grab-and-go food packaging with the "Express" or "Chartwells" logos, paper to-go ware, and disposable utensils, cups, and straws.
    • EXCEPTIONSMost coffee cups from off-campus cafes go in the recycling bin because they are plastic lined or made with non-compostable glues. Ask the barista if cups are compostable, or use your own reusable mug!
    • Learn about what you can compost by checking out this flyer with more information from Seattle Public Utilities. 
  • What Do I Do With Items Like...?

    • Electronics, furniture, light bulbs, metal scrap, paint, large quantity of books, Office file purge
    • Cell phones 
    • Packing air bags, bubble wrap, Styrene foam packaging
    • Toner cartridges
    • Batteries
    • Plastic film products
    • Find out here what to do with these items and more

Latest News and Resources

  • Follow the latest news from the Recycling and Composting team at SU.
  • Not sure where to put shiny paper plates, plastic bags, lids, and many other common disposables? Watch the Seattle Public Utilities Where Does It Go? video series! 
  • Still not sure where it goes? Check out King County’s detailed What do I do with…? page before you toss!
  • For latest updates about the state of SU's recycling and contamination, see here.

Where does our waste go?

Have you ever wondered where your trash ends up? Waste management is complex and the answer might not be obvious. We also recycle many hard-to-recycle items like old textiles, batteries, electronics, and much more. These waste streams are unique and help us move towards our goal of achieving zero-waste.

Seattle University's Compost Facility

Our onsite facility annually turns 178,000 pounds of food waste into compost. The compost is spread in planting beds to improve soil quality. The facility has won several awards for being located in a large city, adjacent to an apartment building and restaurants, and operating without odor issues.

To schedule a group tour, contact Nathan Wolk at The facility is located at 755 13th Avenue. between the O’Brien Center and the School of Law Annex. (map).


Contact Nathaniel Wolk, Recycling Coordinator and Compost Technician, at or (206) 296-6459 with questions.