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.


Individual office bins (aka "Bin Buddies")

Individual office garbage and recycle bins will now be emptied by janitorial staff once every two weeks.

Individual office garbage and recycling bins (aka "Bin Buddies") can be found under desks in most open and closed offices at SFU.

When is this change happening? Why is the university doing this? 

With the shift to more hybrid work arrangements, there has been a decrease in waste disposal and recycling needs across all three campuses. Individual office garbage and recycle bins will now be emptied by janitorial staff once every two weeks.

Please be reminded that food or compostable waste should always be discarded at the four-stream waste stations and never left in offices overnight. Only landfill garbage should be placed in the black waste bins.

Who does this affect? 

Anyone with a deskside office bin will be affected by this change in SFU’s three campuses.  

I don’t use my office bin; can someone remove it?

Please connect with your departmental administrator, who can submit a Facilities service request confirming the location of the offices to remove the bins from. 

What should I put in the black bin?

The black bin is for landfill garbage 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, including:

  • 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)


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