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Recycling FAQs

Not sure about what you can recycle? Check out our handy FAQs to learn more.

Can I recycle…

Not all plastics are recyclable. Standard campus recycle bins are primarily for plastic containers.  Plastics that cannot be placed in the campus recycling include plastic bags, plastic wrap, small plastic items (smaller than 2 inches in any dimension) PVC, Styrofoam, and chip bags. 
Plastic is recyclable only if it is a container larger than 2 inches.  
Please ensure no foods or liquids are on the plastic container prior to recycling!

Yes. Sheets of aluminum foil can be balled up and put in campus recycling bins. Other aluminum containers such as pie pans and lids from some carry-out restaurants (i.e. Chipotle) are also recyclable. Rinse off all food from the aluminum before recycling. 
Greasy and/or food-laden aluminum foil or trays are NOT acceptable. Put aluminum which is contaminated with grease and/or food in the trash


There are many battery recycling bins on campus. View the Recycling & Waste Disposal layer on the campus map for locations. All battery types, except lead acid, can be deposited in these battery bins. Please use clear tape to cover the metal terminals of ALL batteries before placing them in a campus battery recycling bin.

Contact Environmental Affairs at to dispose of lead acid batteries and/or any battery that is swollen, corroded, leaking, or burned.

No. Pour out leftover liquid from your bottles and cans and clean out food from containers before recycling. Containers should be free from visible food residue before recycling. All materials placed in a recycling bin should be clean and dry.

Yes. Both hard and soft cover books are recyclable, but consider first if they can be reused! If the books are in good condition then they can be donated to charity and reused by others. If the books are not in good condition to be donated, then they can be recycled in the campus recycling.

Yes. Please empty all packing materials such as plastic bags and foam and flatten cardboard boxes. The packing materials must be placed in the trash/landfill bin and not the recycling. Flattening boxes help preserve space in campus recycling containers.

CDs and DVDs can be recycled through Terrapin Trader.

Cell phones can be recycled with campus e-Waste collections. Please ensure all personal information is deleted from the phone prior to placing it in a campus e-Waste bin. Electronics recycling bins can be found at the front desks of residence halls, most IT departments, and the IT Help Desk in McKeldin Library.

No. Small plastic items such as lids, straws, creamer cups, credit cards, etc. will not be captured by the mechanized sorting process at the recycling facility. Please place these small plastic items in the trash/landfill bin.

No. The cup (if plastic) can be recycled while the lid and straw have to be landfilled because they are too small to be processed at the recycling facility. If compost is available, the cup (if waxed paper) can then be composted, but the lid and straw must still be landfilled.

Please ensure no liquids or ice end up in the recycling bin.

No. The fibers in these paper products are too small and cannot be repurposed to make other products. These products are, however, compostable and can be added to a compost collection bin.

No. Pizza boxes usually have oil and grease on the cardboard and are not accepted by our recycling processor. Pizza boxes can, however, be composted! Ensure all plastic items (i.e. sauce cups) have been discarded into the trash/landfill bin, then compost the pizza box, wax paper sheet, and any leftover pizza!

Yes. Replace the lid on an empty plastic bottle and both pieces can be recycled. A bottle top separate from its plastic bottle, however, must go in the trash since the lid itself is too small for processing.

Yes. Place the shredded paper in a paper bag, staple it securely closed, write ‘Shredding’ on it, and put the bag in any campus recycling container.

No. Styrofoam typically has a #6 recycling symbol on it but we do not have vendors who will accept Styrofoam for recycling. Unfortunately, you need to put Styrofoam in the landfill/trash.

The one exception is clean Styrofoam packing peanuts which are accepted at Mailboxes Etc. in College Park for reuse.

Yes.  Ink and toner cartridges can be recycled in campus electronics (e-Waste) recycling bins. There are specialty e-Waste collection bins at the front desks of residence halls, many IT departments, and the IT Help Desk. Alternatively, campus departments can collect toner cartridges and request a pick-up by emailing

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