Recycling and Waste Reduction

When it comes to waste diversion, Holy Cross aims to reduce what we consume, reuse as much as we can, and recycle discarded materials. 

The world of recycling continues to shift, which means ‘wishful recycling’ lives rampant. When someone tosses items in the recycling bin and hopes they are recyclable or think they should be recyclable, that person is a wishful recycler. While well-intentioned, wishful recycling results in a contaminated recycling stream, sending perfectly good material straight to the landfill. It’s avoidable! Waste Management, Holy Cross’ waste hauler, recommends three rules: 

  1. Recycle all clean and empty plastic bottles, cans, paper and cardboard.
  2. Keep food and liquid out of the recycling.
  3. No plastic bags or styrofoams.

With everyone's participation, Holy Cross can expand its 35% waste diversion rate.

Single-Stream Recycling

Holy Cross adopted a single-stream recycling system in 2012. Single-stream recycling is a system in which all recyclable materials (hard plastics, paper, cardboard, glass, and aluminum) are placed, unsorted, in one recycling bin. The Environmental Services team in the Department of Facilities collects and transports all recycling to a container behind Loyola Hall. These materials are picked up by Waste Management and brought to a facility in Avon, Mass. for sorting.

Please contact Environmental Services at 508-793-2454 if you would like to request recycling bins for your department or room and they will try to help you to develop a specific program for your area. Remember, black bags are for trash and clear bags are for recycling. 

Note: Neither Holy Cross nor Waste Management sorts recyclables out of the trash. Sometimes you may see a custodian emptying the recycling bins into a large trash bag. All custodians are instructed to not put recyclables in the trash. In residence halls, if a bin is full, custodians will occasionally empty the bins into trash bags and store the full bags in another part of the building until they are removed from the building. In offices, custodians should be emptying the desk-side trash and recycling containers into separate trash bags on their carts. The material is then brought to the recycling area in the warehouse where it is sorted and prepared for shipment. If you truly believe the recyclables are being thrown away, please contact Environmental Services at 508-793-2454 so that we can address the issue appropriately.

Batteries and Ink Cartridges

Collection containers for batteries and ink cartridges are located in three locations on campus:
• first floor of the Hogan Campus Center (next to the post office)
• Dinand Library alcove
• Kimball Dining Hall corral

Universal Waste

The Environmental Services team (x2454) will pick up any recycling items on behalf of Holy Cross departments and offices: 
• Light bulbs
• Electronics
• Monitors
• Toner cartridges

Mattress Recycling

The Environmental Services team (x2454) recycles campus mattresses annually on behalf of Holy Cross departments and offices.

Wood Pallet Recycling

The Environmental Services team (x2454) recycles wood pallets annually on behalf of Holy Cross departments and offices.

Textile Recycling

Community members may drop off all textiles, including clothes, linens, shoes, and pillows, in the white collection bin to the west side of the Hart Center at their convenience. For large on campus quantities, offices may make a work order in FAMIS and the Environmental Services team will transport the textiles to the white bin.

Books and Textbooks

The Office of Multicultural Education (OME) oversees Holy Cross' Lending Library where students may rent textbooks on a semesterly basis. Community members looking to donate to the Lending Library should email OME.

Community members may drop off all other books, including paperbacks, hardcovers, and textbooks, in the white collection bin behind Alumni Hall at their convenience.


Offices and departments across campus compost their food and yard waste. Dining Services composts 100% of its food waste from the kitchen and the dining room. The Office of Events and Conference Services composts food waste from Catering Services. The Grounds team in the Department of Facilities gives yard waste to a local farm where it becomes compost and then returns to campus for flowerbeds. The Jesuit Community utilizes a composting system in Ciampi Hall.

Student residents in Figge Hall, Loyola Hall, and Williams Hall drop off food waste at indoor freezers, which then gets added to Holy Cross' larger pickups. Students who choose to participate follow these steps:

  1. Grab a compostable bag located near the collection freezers, which are in the second floor trash collection rooms of both Figge Hall and Williams Hall as well as in the basement hallway of Loyola Hall.
  2. Collect food waste in their room (Tip: If you have a fridge or freezer, store this waste there to avoid unfortunate smells).
  3. Bring and drop their bags in the collection freezers at their convenience.
  4. Repeat.

    Hartsprings Foundation Collection Bin

    Through a partnership with Hartsprings Foundation, the Holy Cross community may donate their used, unwanted clothing and household items in a collection bin located behind Alumni Hall. Simply bag any donations and place the bags into the designated bin.

    Items accepted:

    • All cloth items
    • Clothing (all sizes, styles, ages, and genders)
    • Bedding and Draperies (No bed pillows)
    • Shoes
    • Small appliances
    • Electronics
    • Kitchenware
    • Household goods
    • Sporting goods
    • Toys
    • Books (No encyclopedias, textbooks, or library books)


    All styrofoam, plastic bags, and plastic films are presently trash and should be discarded in a trash bin (the bins with the black bags).

    Reduce First

    Recycling helps divert materials from landfills. However, we hope that the campus community joins in our effort to take things even a step further by minimizing — or altogether avoiding — the use of materials in the first place. Some recommended ways to reduce future waste:

    • Use tap or filtered water before opting for a water bottle
    • Purchase products with minimal or no packaging
    • Try digital marketing tactics instead of paper strategies
    • Provide valuable and reusable giveaways
    • Print double-sided when possible