By Hasnat Aslam ’27

As outlined in the College’s Climate Action Plan, Lafayette is committed to diverting 40% of its waste from the landfill by 2030 and 60% by 2035. To this end, along with many waste minimization strategies, the Office of Sustainability spearheads recycling programs to divert campus waste and hard-to-recycle items, such as snack wrappers, beauty products, and shoes, away from the landfill, so they can be repurposed or reused.

While many items (plastic, cardboard, glass, and aluminum) can be recycled in blue bins across campus, additional efforts to divert hard-to-recycle items from landfills involve collaborations with TerraCycle, a recycling organization that collects items such as:

  • Writing utensils
  • Beauty product containers
  • 3D printing materials
  • Oral care waste
  • Candy and snack wrappers
  • Shoes and footwear
  • Lab safety equipment

Help support these initiatives by learning about what can be recycled in blue bins on campus and specific locations where specialty items can be dropped off. If you are not sure whether something is recyclable, read the signs above the bins carefully. Questions? Contact the Office of Sustainability.

Samantha Smith, sustainability outreach and engagement manager for the Office of Sustainability, says the first step to reaching our goals is minimizing waste to begin with—using reusable containers and buying used instead of new from locations like the Campus Thrift Store. If you can’t avoid getting disposable items, decrease contamination in the recycling bins by learning the recycling rules

Similarly, Big Green Boxes can be found throughout campus where students and staff can place used batteries and small electronics for recycling. Batteries found in consumer products—such as cellphones and laptops—are accepted. Not all batteries are accepted; check the Office of Sustainability’s website for a list of what can and cannot be recycled. 


The Office of Sustainability has several sustainability programs and initiatives to create awareness among students. Students can join the Eco Reps Leadership Program, a group of peer-to-peer educators who plan sustainability initiatives in their residence halls, fraternity and sorority houses, and off-campus houses. 

According to Bernadette Russo ’24, a coordinator for the Eco Reps Leadership Program, Eco Reps aid in implementing sustainability programs, improving operational infrastructure, and increasing awareness through communications strategies. 

Students can earn a Sustainable Living Certificate by learning tips on how to live more sustainably on campus, and get prizes for their efforts. 

Faculty and staff

Departments seeking to dispose of small e-waste and batteries can use Big Green Boxes for small electronics. In the case of a larger supply of electronic waste, the department should contact

Lafayette College has a separate framework for the handling, storage, pickup, and disposal of hazardous waste. Faculty and staff can learn how to decrease their environmental impact through the Sustainable Office Program.