Office of Sustainability

Choosing the Correct Bin

New: Updated printable signs with dining-specific guidance (.pdf)
trash & recycling dumpsters outside massell

Trash and recycling containers at Massell Quad. Recycling containers have a blue lid and a helpful guide on what can be recycled.

Photo Credit: Mary Fischer

Recycling has changed dramatically over the past few years. New rules of thumb are:

  • When in doubt, throw it out.
  • Keep recycling clean.
  • No plastic bags or plastic film, except in grocery store collection boxes.
  • No cords, ropes, hoses, or anything that can tangle.

Not Sure? Ask Recyclopedia!

Which Bin Should I Choose?

General guidance by material type is below. For guidance specific to campus dining, see our guide to take-out packaging.

Item Recycle, Compost or Trash?
Aluminum beverage and food cans Recycle
Batteries Recycle (a)
Cardboard boxes, file folders, poster board Recycle
Cardboard pizza boxes Recycle or compost (b)
Carryout/takeout non-compostable containers Trash
Certified compostable products Compost
Coffee and tea pods Trash
Coffee grounds, filters and tea bags Compost
Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) Recycle (a)
Disposable non-compostable cups and lids Trash
Electronic waste Recycle (c)
Food scraps Compost
Hangers of any type Trash
Ink, toner cartridges for large multifunction printers Recycle (d)
Paper, newspapers, magazines, phonebooks, paperback books, etc. Recycle
Paper food cartons and milk/juice cartons Trash
Paper napkins and towels Compost
Plastic grocery bags Trash (if on campus, or bring to your grocery store to recycle)
Plastic lids and straws Trash
Plastic packing materials such as bubble wrap or air pillows Trash (if on campus, or bring to your grocery store to recycle in the plastic bag recycling)
Plastic non-compostable utensils Trash
Plastic water bottles, soda bottles Recycle
Polystyrene (Styrofoam) cups, containers or packing material
Pots and pans Trash
Umbrellas Trash

(a) Take to the collection area near the entrance of Gerstenzang, between Edison-Lecks and Abelson-Bass (not the entrance from Volen plaza).

(b) If pizza box is slightly greasy, recycle. If very greasy, compost. Compost bins are located throughout campus.

(c) Take to the Feldberg collection area at the entrance to Feldberg on the lower level, facing Fellows Garden. If items are large or you have difficulty taking them to Feldberg, please contact facilities services for assistance.

(d) Send your cartridges via interoffice mail to the mailroom. The mailroom will collect the cartridges and ship them to Ricoh to be recycled. If you would prefer to ship your cartridges directly to Ricoh, follow these steps: 1) For cartridges that have UPS or FedEx shipping labels inside: Remove the label from the box. Place the used cartridge in the box and tape the prepaid shipping label to the outside of the package. Please use the return instructions on the label. 2) For cartridges that do not have a prepaid label already, or to ship multiple cartridges in a box of your own: Print a prepaid UPS shipping label and follow the instructions on the Ricoh website.

infographic about compost

Photo Credit: Infographic by Maggie Del Re