Click to Enlarge (design by Jessica Chen ’18)

Thanks for taking a minute to figure out what can be recycled on campus.

To the right is a poster that you’ll see around campus. It’s a quick overview of what can and can’t be recycled on campus and the color coding system that we use.  (Both yellow and green are used for plastic/metal/glass recycling.)

Click here for the comprehensive Recycling Guide.

Please note college recycling is a different system than Williamstown recycling.

Click here for information about Williamstown transfer station recycling.



Get Involved

Williams is continuously trying to improve ways that we reduce waste and improve our recycling and composting systems.

If you have ideas, suggestions, concerns, or just want to learn more about waste on campus, come visit us in the ’66 Environmental Center, join the Waste & Recycling Working Group, or email us to set up a time to meet.


Recycling in Dorms

The color-coded Waste Room in Horn Hall.

Recycling and trash from residence hall common rooms goes into the a central Waste Rooms (often labeled Trash Rooms), which are typically basements.  From there our campus Recycling Team pick up the recyclables once a week and take them to certain locations around campus until our recycling hauler – T.A.M. – hauls it to their Recycling Center in Pownal, VT.

Please make things easier for your custodian by breaking down cardboard boxes and taking these boxes and full recycling bins down to the Waste Rooms.


Digging In

Williams collects paper, newspaper, cardboard, plastic, glass and metal containers, batteries, and electronics for recycling. We also collect gently used clothing for donation to a local non-profit organization.

Recycling containers for paper, glass, plastic, and metal are available in public areas across campus. Individual offices have paper recycling containers, as do classrooms. Students have colored bins for recycleables in their dorm rooms, though they are responsible for transporting both their garbage and recycleables to their dorm’s trash room. Recycleables (paper, cardboard, bottles and cans) are transported to a consolidation location on campus by the Campus Recyclers.

Bottles and Cans
When sufficient amounts collect, our hauler (TAM) takes bottles and cans to their facility in Pownal, VT.   At their facility, the recyclables are separated. From there aluminum goes to Weistman’s in Albany, NY.  The final destination of glass and plastic varies. We will post more info when we get that from our new hauler – TAM.

The Athletics Department has been installing more recyclable containers at sporting venues and in locker rooms contributing to increase in diversion rate of bottles and cans.

Scrap Metal
Scrap metal is taken to Weistman’s in Albany, NY.

Paper and Cardboard
A paper and cardboard compactor was installed a few years ago near the campus heating plant.  Installation of the compactor has enabled the reduction in staff time used to sort and manage cardboard and paper disposal.  Since cardboard and paper can now be co-mingled all types of paper can be placed in the paper recycling containers.  Materials that can be recycled include magazines, office paper, paperboard, newspapers, envelopes, etc.  Cardboard should be neatly stacked next to central recycling areas for pick up.  Paper and cardboard is taken to Westrock in Syracuse, NY.

Electronics Waste (Computers, Monitors, Printers…)
Williams’ e-waste is handled by Electronics Recyclers International, located in Gardner, MA facility. Electronics Recyclers is a founding member of e-Stewards, a third party certification organization that works to ensure environmentally and socially responsible collection and processing of e-waste.  All sorts of electronic materials can be recycled: computers, monitors, printers, dvd players, compact disks.  Contact the Facilities office for pick up of large items. Personal computing equipment from individuals with a Williams I.D. is collected at the end of each academic year in the GreenUp program.


Starting early in academic year 2011, Williams has instituted a waste measurement system.  In previous years, we collected data related to volumes of recyclables but not overall trash volumes.  We have been working with our trash and recycling service providers to develop a online reporting system.  We now have enough information for some of our waste streams that we are developing baselines that we can use to set ambitious goals.

For more information about recycling and waste management, contact the Zilkha Center.

To learn more about Massachusetts regulations, permits, and programs in Massachusetts, visit the MassDEP site.