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Recycling Guide

What to Recycle


Why Recycle: Recycling one ton of paper can save 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 380 gallons of oil, and 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space!

What to Recycle: Office paper, cereal boxes, mail, books, newspapers, folders, and magazines

What is NOT Accepted: Soiled paper, napkins, and paper towels

Where to Recycle: Containers marked “Paper Only”, including small blue office containers, Slim Jims, and 35 and 95 gallon rolling bins.


Aluminum Cans

Why Recycle: Throwing away a single can is like pouring out six ounces of gasoline. Creating a can from recycled aluminum uses 95 percent less energy than creating one from virgin materials. An aluminum can has no limit to how many times it can be recycled, and the average life cycle of a can is under sixty days.

What to Recycle: Aluminum beverage cans

What is NOT Accepted: Aluminum foil, baking/pie pans, materials with a lot of food contamination

Where to Recycle: Containers marked “Plastic & Bottles/Cans,” including Slim Jims and 35- and 95-gallon rolling bins



Why Recycle: Creating new plastics accounts for 7 percent of worldwide usage of fossil fuels. The purpose of plastic containers is to be chemically inert to the material it contains, which makes them virtually unbiodegradable. Thus, plastics continue to pollute surface waters and break into smaller and smaller pieces. They eventually end up in the oceans, where large eddy currents collect and concentrate the debris, affecting sea life.

Learn more about the Great Pacific Garbage Dump

What do plastic codes mean?

What to Recycle: Any clean plastic (cups, bottles, bags, plates, etc.) labeled No. 1 through 7, excluding No. 6 polystyrene

What is NOT Accepted: Expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam), dirty food containers, plastic wrap, packing peanuts

Where to Recycle: Containers marked “Plastic & Bottles/Cans,” including Slim Jims and 35- and 95-gallon rolling bins


Steel Cans

Why Recycle: Most people call them “tin cans,” but the containers your green beans come in are mostly made of steel. Recycling steel cans saves 74 percent of the energy used to produce them. A steel mill that uses recycled scrap reduces related water pollution, air pollution, and mining wastes by about 70 percent.

What to Recycle:Steel Food Containers

Where to Recycle:In Containers Marked: “Plastic & Bottles/Cans” This Includes Slimjims, and 35 & 95 Gallon Rolling Bins



Why Recycle: About 90 percent of all products shipped worldwide are shipped in cardboard containers. As is it a paper product and there are a limited number of trees, recycling cardboard is not only lucrative but essential to maintaining an environmental equilibrium. Recycling cardboard saves 50 percent of greenhouse emissions compared with new cardboard.

What to Recycle: Corrugated cardboard (the thick wavy kind), clean pizza boxes with no food, shipping and packing boxes

What is NOT Accepted: Very waxy cardboard, cardboard with food contamination, paperboard (cereal boxes, food containers)

Where to Recycle: Cardboard sleeves in front of buildings and on loading docks

Food Waste

Why Recycle: Organic materials in landfills break down under anaerobic conditions (no oxygen). In the absence of oxygen, bacteria will produce methane gas more readily. Methane is a greenhouse gas with 20 times more greenhouse potential than carbon dioxide. Also, organic materials take up valuable space in landfills. At UT we compost green wastes and food wastes to create a nutrient-rich soil additive.

Learn more about Campus Composting

What to Recycle: Food waste, nonwaxy paper, napkins, coffee grounds

Where to Recycle: All campus dining locations compost their excess and spoiled food products, and some academic buildings have composting in break/faculty rooms.


Green Waste

Why Recycle: Just like food waste, green waste contains organic matter. This organic matter biodegrades in landfills to produce methane gas, which has 20 times more greenhouse potential than carbon dioxide. Furthermore, green waste is bulky and takes up valuable room in landfills. At UT we compost green waste and food waste to create a nutrient-rich soil additive.

Learn More About Campus Composting



Why Recycle: Batteries contain heavy metals and toxic and corrosive chemicals. These materials can leach into the water supply, where they are difficult and costly to clean up. Battery materials are also expensive, and recycling helps to keep costs down as recovery is more economical than mining.

What to Recycle: Alkaline (single-use), lithium, button/watch, rechargeable, cell phone, computer batteries, lead acid (vehicle batteries).

Where to Recycle: Battery buckets located throughout campus buildings

Special Considerations: Lead-acid vehicle batteries have leads that can short out and cause an explosion. Please contact recycling by e-mail or phone to collect lead-acid batteries.



Why Recycle: Electronic waste is a rapidly growing constituent of the waste stream. It contains many valuable recoverable metals and toxic and hazardous materials.

What to Recycle: Any nonfunctional electronic items, cell phones, computers, microwaves, televisions

Where to Recycle: E-waste bins around campus

Special Considerations: Please fill out the service request form for large or bulky items that will not fit in the e-waste bins.


Printer and Toner Cartridges

Why Recycle : Each year 375 million empty printer & toner cartridges are thrown away with most ending up in landfills or incinerators.

What to Recycle : Empty or dry ink and toner cartridges.

Where to Recycle : Cartridge bins all around campus.


Fluorescent and Compact Fluorescent Lamps

Why Recycle: Compact Fluorescent lamps often break when thrown away, which may release small amounts of mercury that can be harmful to humans and the environment.

What to Recycle: Fully intact CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) and Fluorescent lamps.

Where to Recycle: Contact the Maintenance department for further information.


Scrap Metal

Why Recycle: Recycling scrap metal means using less newly mined metal, equating to less mining and damage to the environment. Some metals, such as copper, aluminum, lead, nickel and zinc  can be recycled infinite amount of times.

What to Recycle: Any non-can metal materials. examples include: metal sheeting, metal framing etc.

Where to Recycle: Steam Plant Hill



Why Recycle : In the US, pallet manufacturers are one of the top wood consuming business. Recycling pallets would help cut down the need for newly acquired wood, and pallets made of recycled wood are found to be sturdier than newly constructed pallets.

What to Recycle: Plastic and Wooden Pallets

Where to Recycle: Send in a request online, and place them at the pick-up dock at the specified building.

Recycling Receptacles

Located in faculty/staff office and working areas

Located in classrooms, public student areas, and hallways

Located in hallways, loading docks, and heavy use areas

Located outside the front entrance or on the loading dock

Located in the Apartment Residence Hall, Volunteer Hall, Laurel Apartments, the Computer Store, and the North Commons in Hodges Library

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