Waste Reduction

Facilities Services is working to support the university's sustainability commitment to be a leader in zero waste operations. This means continuously expanding recycling services to increase waste reduction capacities on campus.

Four-Stream Waste

Our Four-Stream Stations can be found around all around SFU campuses. 

Food Scraps and Compostables

Mixed Paper


Landfill Garbage

Yes please

  • All food (cooked and raw)
  • Coffee grounds
  • coffee filters, tea bags
  • All paper that has touched food or liquid e.g. napkins, paper food packaging & bags, pizza boxes
  • Household plants and cut flowers
  • Compostable food packaging e.g. from Mackenzie Cafe (look for the label) 

No thanks

  • Please do not put any plastics, styrofoam, or other non-food items in this bin

These items are sent to Net Zero Waste Eastgate in North Vancouver, where they are broken down into high quality compost through state of the art composting methods. The resulting compost and soil is then used for commercial and residential use. 

Yes please

  • All clean paper e.g. office paper & envelopes, magazines, newspapers, flyers 
  • Small cardboard boxes e.g. cereal and detergent boxes. Please fold large cardboard boxes and leave them next to the Four Stream Station for collection 
  • Clean paper bags and cup sleeves

No thanks

  • Please do not put any paper or paper packaging that has touched food or liquid in this bin (this should go in the green bin if you have one, or the grey bin if not) 
  • Coffee cups

These items are sent to Urban Impact’s Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in New Westminster where they are sorted into different types and qualities of paper, baled and sent to recycling facilities, where they are recycled into new products such as coffee cup sleeves, recycled paper, paper towels and cardboard.

Yes please

Please empty out all food first

  • All plastic containers
  • Plastic cup lids
  • Milk and juice cartons
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Clean aluminum foil and foil plates
  • Metal tins and cans
  • Coffee cups and lids

No thanks

  • Please do not put any food in this bin (empty out first into the green food waste bin if you have one, or the grey bin if not)
  • Styrofoam
  • Soft plastics e.g. plastic film, grocery bags

These items are also sent to the MRF where they are separated, baled and shipped to recycling facilities, where they are recycled into new products such as aluminum cans. 

Any materials that cannot go into the other 3 bins should be put in the grey landfill bin, including the following materials

Yes please

  • Styrofoam e.g. containers and cups
  • Soft plastics e.g. plastic wrap, film and grocery bags
  • Plastic cutlery
  • Chip, cookie and candy bags and wrappers

No thanks

  • Landfill is the last option for waste. Please ensure that materials you put in this bin cannot be recycled elsewhere.

These items are sent to Wastetech’s Waste Transfer Station in Coquitlam, then on to Metro Vancouver’s waste-to-energy facility in Burnaby. Some items, such as glass and metal, never fully break down in a landfill.


Bin Buddies

Find these small, mobile black garbage containers in SFU's offices. To reflect typical office waste stream of 85% paper, they hang on the side of a yellow mixed paper bin, saving space and plastic garbage bags. They help keep us aware of the waste we produce each day at work.  

What should I put in the black bin?

The black bin replaces the black landfill garbage bin that was previously in your office. You should use this for the same items - i.e. only those that cannot be recycled or composted at SFU. This includes Styrofoam, soft, candy bar wrappers, cookie and chip bags. Please take all other materials (i.e. compostable and non-paper recyclable materials) to the nearest four-stream station. The black bin is detachable so it can also be used as a mobile trash container to take your recyclables to your nearest station.

What should I put in the yellow bin? 

The yellow bin is for paper and replaces the blue recycling bins in offices – in order to align with the Zero Waste standard established at SFU and across Metro Vancouver. The following items can be placed in this bin:

  • All CLEAN paper
  • Office paper & envelopes
  • Magazines, newspapers, flyers and phone books
  • Boxboard (cereal packaging, detergent boxes) Please fold large boxes and leave them next to the 4-stream Zero Waste Stations for collection
  • Hard and soft-cover books
  • Paper cup sleeves
  • Paper bags (including wrapping)

Will there be a bag or liner in the Bin Buddy? 

No, there will not be a bag or liner inside the Bin Buddy.  The Buddy should only be used for non-recyclable and non-compostable items, so there should not be anything wet in it which would create the need for a liner.  This will results to the elimination of 200,000 plastic bin liners that would otherwise be sent to the landfill from SFU. With four-stream stations available for composting and recycling, most office garbage bins contain very little waste.

When will the Bin Buddies be emptied?

Both the office recycling and Bin Buddy garbage bins will continue to be emptied once a week by janitorial staff.  You can also take any items to the nearest four-stream station at any time.


Other recyclable items

Yes, you can recycle the following items:

  • Electronics - at Central Stores at Facilities Services
  • School books - donate to the SFU library or participate in the Bookstore buyback program

For paper, cardboard, compost, landfill, tires, matresses, furniture, e-waste, concrete, drywall, mixed recycling, wood, metal, landscape material & styrofoam, email fm_service_desk@sfu.ca

Four-stream waste bins signage