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.
Plain and colored office paper
Post-It notes, envelopes
Brown paper bags
Chipboard (cereal boxes, Kleenex boxes, etc.)
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.In public areas:Place these in the RED recycling containers marked "paper."In classrooms, rooms and offices:
Place in the small TAN containers labeled "Paper" (smaller than trash containers).
In dorm common rooms:
Put in the RED containers in rooms/common rooms designated for paper. When those fill up, bring to the trash/recycling room in your dorm, typically in the basement and place in appropriate containers.
Drink bottles (plastic and glass)
Yogurt containers (clean)
Clear plastic take out food containers (clean)
Laundry detergent bottles
Aluminum foil (clean)
Refrigerated cartons (juice/milk) & aseptic (shelf-stable) containers
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)
PLEASE NOTE THAT SOME BINS SAY "BOTTLES & CANS." Plastic, glass, and metal can go in these.In public areas:Place these in the GREEN containers marked "plastic glass cans."
- 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. Other locations in the region are here.
In classrooms: In the appropriately labeled small TAN container near the trash containers.In offices:Offices do not have containers for these items, so please take them to the nearest public recycling station in your building.
In dorms: Place in the YELLOW bins in your common rooms designated for plastic, glass and metal containers. When those fill up, bring to the trash/recycling room in your dorm and place in appropriate 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 waste
LEDs = trashIncandescents = trash
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:
- Thermometers & Thermostats - For college-owned thermometers and thermostats, contact Heather Main in the Safety & Environmental Compliance office. If you are in the sciences, contact Norm Bell.
- 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 - Contact Nicole Pedercini in the Controllers Office. She has kindly offered to recycle unwanted phones along with the ones she recycles for her office. Remember to wipe the memory clean before getting rid of it. And if it is an iphone, disable the "Find my iphone" function.
- 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 Greylock ABC.
- 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 receptacle.
Gather reasonably transportable amounts in a box. Contact the Facilities Service desk at 597-2486 to arrange for pick up.
- Paper towels, napkins
- Plastic bags
- Incandescent Lightbulbs (see lightbulb section above for more info about disposal)
- Shiny/waxy items (like a pouch for teabags)
- Granola/ Odwalla bar wrappers (these can be Terracycled, so look for these boxes around campus. If you can't find one, just throw it in the trash.)