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Sustainability at Mills

Waste Reduction

What We're Doing Mills College has a goal of Zero Waste, which is defined by the Zero Waste International Alliance as eliminating all discharges to land, water or air that are a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health. Mills is working to achieve this goal by prioritizing reducing, reusing, recycling, and rotting (composting) materials.

Re-Use Depot
The Re-Use Depot is next to the Mary Morse laundry room. See the campus sustainability map.

If a Mills community member no longer has a use for a gently-used item such as clothes, shoes, school supplies, accessories or kitchenware, that person can drop them off at the Re-Use Depot. Others can stop by and “shop” for free! Items that are not accepted include: undergarments, broken electronics, broken appliances, batteries, and anything that is torn, ripped, or stained. The space is run by a student Re-Use Depot Manager, and student volunteers. Volunteering requires one to two hours a week to open the space, process donations, and help shoppers. Email reusedepot@mills.edu if interested.

For most recent open hours schedule, click here.

Books can be donated/taken for free from the Office of Learning, Advising, and Balance (The LAB) Free Book Room in Carnegie Hall, first floor.

Reusables Drive
During the move-out process at the end of the year, the Reusables Drive provides an on-campus opportunity for students to donate the items they do not need, directing them toward the Re-Use Depot or local charities. If you are a local program or charity and would like to provide a needs list, please email reusedepot@mills.edu.

RecycleMania is a friendly 8-week nationwide competition among hundreds of campuses to see who reduce, recycle, and compost the most. Mills participates in Recyclemania annually and promotes waste reduction through competitions between members of the Mills community and other educational activities. View the Mills College rankings for the National RecycleMania Competition.

What You Can Do
Sort your discards!

Here's a brief video explaining proper sorting at Mills:

Feel free to print these signs for use in your space:

Recycle signage
Compost signage
Landfill signage


  • Most paper: newspaper, magazines, construction paper, printer paper
  • Cardboard: shipping boxes, cereal boxes, egg cartons, shoe boxes
  • Glass: bottles, jars
  • Plastics #1-6: bottles, yogurt containers, milk jugs, detergent bottles
  • Aluminum, steel and tin: soup cans, soda cans, broken metal water bottles


  • Food scraps: fruit peels, coffee grounds/filters,
  • Dirty paper/cardboard: paper towels, napkins, paper plates/cups, pizza boxes
  • Plant materialdead plants, leaves, sticks
  • Uncoated, untreated wood: stir sticks, wood without paint or nails
  • Bioplastics: look like plastic but either say "compostable" or "PLA" - many Tea Shop

Landfill (or find reuse for):

  • Anything that can't be recycled or composted. 
  • Plastic film: plastic bags, plastic food wrapping
  • Materials with different layers that can't be separated (e.g. plastic and paper layers): soy milk, juice and soup boxes; mailing envelopes lined with bubble wrap
  • Film wrappers: wrappers for candy, chips, granola bars, etc.
  • Latex: gloves, balloons
  • Animal waste: diapers, pet waste

Electronics Recycling
These are materials that have hazardous components that require special disposal procedures. Please do not throw these items in the landfill, recycling, compost, or Re-Use Depot bins. For some materials, it is actually prohibited by California law to do so. Please follow the below guidelines for proper disposal of these materials.

If you have questions, feel free to contact:

Nicole Gaetjens
Sustainability Coordinator

Information Technology Helpdesk

Pat Ernesto
Campus Facilities

Sage Hall E-Waste Collection Guidelines
If your department does not have an e-waste collection program, Sage Hall has two small, yellow e-waste collection boxes. If your item doesn’t fit in the box, please take it directly to Lucie Stern 21 during regular business hours. This collection site is meant for small items.

Sage Hall First Box, IT:
Items accepted: Common small e-waste items such as small inkjet cartridges, computer parts, wires of various types, ipods, power strips, cell phones, vhs tapes, etc.

E-Waste that does not fit in a box, IT:
Items include: Mills-owned computer monitors, hard drives, printers and copiers, large toner or inkjet cartridges, fax machines, servers, stereo equipment, VCRs, television sets.

Items do NOT include: microwaves, refrigerators, fans, blenders, appliances. Microwaves and refrigerators cannot be disposed of on campus. Please look to www.stopwaste.org.

For these larger items, you have two options. You can take these items directly to Lucie Stern 21 during regular business hours or you can schedule a pickup by contacting the Information Technology Helpdesk at 510.430.2005 or helpdesk@mills.edu.

Sage Hall Second Box, Facilities:
Items accepted: CFL bulbs, batteries, fluorescent tubes. These items must be contained in a small plastic bag, as per EPA guidelines.

Thank you for contributing to the responsible handling of toxics, preventing contamination of our natural resources and our neighbors.


Get Involved



Farm and Food

Sustainability Forums


Waste Reduction

Water Conservation

Contact Information 

Joanne Wong
Sustainability Coordinator


Julia Dashe
Farm Manager


Green for Green Fund:

Sustainability Committee:

Re-Use Depot

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Last Updated: 8/23/17