Recycling Guide

Campus Guide for Recycling, Composting, Returning Reusables (click here to access printable version)
(click here to access printable version)

This comprehensive recycling guide is your go-to for handling waste on campus, for students, staff, and faculty! Don’t know if something can be recycled or not, or unsure of where you can dispose of certain types of batteries? Expand the category boxes on this page to find out. The left column includes the item and the right column explains if it is recyclable or not, and where to dispose of it.

If you don’t see instructions for something you believe is recyclable, or if you have any other questions relating to this guide, please email the Zilkha Center to ask about it.

To learn about composting, please visit the Campus Composting Guide.


    Plain and colored office paper


    Shiny/glossy paper


    Post-It notes, envelopes


    Brown paper bags






    Chipboard (cereal boxes, Kleenex boxes, etc.)




    Pizza boxes**


    Old and damaged books***



    *Flatten and stack cardboard next to recycling containers. Wet, waxed, and soiled cardboard cannot be recycled.  Please put it in the trash.


    **Even those with grease, but please remove plastic and crust before recycling.


    *** Unwanted books can be donated through the end-of-year move-out donation program - Give It Up! Books can be recycled after tearing the hard covers off.

    Dispose of these items in the blue single stream recycling containers.

    The blue bins are for all recyclable items.



    Drink bottles (plastic and glass)


    Yogurt containers (clean)


    Clear plastic take out food containers (clean)


    Solo cups


    Laundry detergent bottles


    Aluminum cans


    Aluminum foil (clean)


    Plastic catering trays (both the lids and the bottoms)


    Other plastics numbered #1-7 - EXCEPT STYROFOAM, which is trash (The plastics numbering system is a classification system and is usually on the bottom of an item in the middle of the triangular recycling symbol and refers to the polymer type of the plastic, which is used for separating plastics for recycling)

    • NOT fuel canisters  -  To properly store and dispose of camping fuel canisters, speak with Dave Ackerson at the WOC office (Pareksy 218). They cannot be kept in the dorms.
    • NOT plastic sealed air inflatable packaging - They can be recycled in a plastic bag recycling in a store. The nearest one to campus is Stop N Shop.

    The Blue Bins are for Recycling

    Dispose of these items in the blue single stream recycling containers.

  • Waxed, wet, and soiled cardboard is not recyclable Flatten and stack next to recycling containers in public areas and dorm trash/recycling rooms in the basement.
  • Lightbulbs are not recyclable
    CFLs = universal hazardous wasteLEDs = trash

    Incandescents = trashincandescent_15947010

    CFLs contain small amounts of mercury and are considered "universal waste." These cannot go in your trash can.  Contact your custodian for proper disposal.

    Incandescent light bulbs & LEDs cannot be recycled, but can go in your trash can. Put them in a bag before putting them in the trash to minimize the risk of bulbs breaking and cutting anyone transporting the trash

  • Most electronics contain lead or mercury and cannot be disposed of in the trash.  This is how you properly dispose of these items:

    • Toner Cartridges -  There are seven boxes in different areas on campus in which you can drop off your empty toner cartridge to be recycled. You can drop off cartridges from any College owned network or local printer. Click here for the list of box locations.  Contact the OIT help desk with questions.
    • Computers, Laptops, Monitors, Printers - For personal items only - students, staff, and faculty can dispose of these safely at a one-time end-of-the-year event called GreenUp.  For college-owned equipment, contact the OIT helpdesk.

    • Cell phones - The Verizon store located at 43 Main street in North Adams and will accept your no longer needed/functional cell phones for recycling. Alternatively, if getting to North Adams is challenging, you may drop your unwanted cell phone off at the Facilities stockroom (best accessed via Meacham St), and the stockroom personnel will handle the recycling process for you. Remember to wipe the memory clean before getting rid of it.  And if it is an iphone, disable the "Find my iphone" function.
    • Media (cassettes, etc) - If you need media destroyed or recycled please contact the Records Manager and Digital Archivist, Jessika Drmacich. She leads the campus wide disposition day and can assist you.



    • Alkaline, lithium ion, ni-cad, rechargeables, and 9-volt batteries (before disposing, cover the positive and negative posts of the following batteries with masking, duct, or electrical tape)


    • Lead-acid batteries, such as most car batteries and battery packs for emergency lighting (must be disposed of differently.  Contact Heather Main for disposal.)




    • Clean and gently used clothing
    • Clean and gently used shoes
    Clean and gently used clothing can be recycled in Paresky in the built-in recycling containers located near the Park St. entrance. Clothing will be donated to ABC Clothing Sale Pop Up.Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 12.32.57 PM
    • Styrofoam peanuts
    • Bubble wrap
    • Padded paper

    The UPS Store in the Colonial Shopping Center will often take these materials for reuse. You can drop these items off anytime during normal business hours.

    If you don’t take them there, they should just be put in the trash bin.

  • Gather reasonably transportable amounts in a box. Contact the Facilities Service desk at 597-2486 to arrange for pick up.

    • Media (cassettes, etc) - If you need media destroyed or recycled please contact the Records Manager and Digital Archivist, Jessika Drmacich. She leads the campus wide disposition day and can assist you.



    • Photographs
    • Paper towels, napkins
    • Styrofoam
    • Plastic bags (can also be returned to Stop & Shop)
    • Incandescent Lightbulbs (see lightbulb section above for more info about disposal)
    • Shiny/waxy items (like a pouch for teabags or sticker/label backing)
    • Granola/ Odwalla bar wrappers  (these can be Terracycled, but we don't currently have a system up and running here)
    Trash bin