Special Materials Recycling

In addition to single-stream recycling, the university also recycles items that must be kept separate from more typical items like cans, bottles and paper.


Photo: Batteries

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 placed in a campus battery recycling bin.

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

Photo: Carpet for recyclingAnnual residence hall move-out events generate a lot of reusable and recyclable items. Carpet is an item that is generated in a very large volume. More than 8 tons of carpet is collected annually from Move-Out collections and recycled through FM—Recycling and Solid Waste.

Photo: Cell PhonesCell phones and other small electronic devices can be recycled in campus e-Waste bins. e-Waste collection bins can be found at residence hall front desks, many campus IT departments, and the IT Help Desk in McKeldin Library.

Be sure that any confidential data has been erased from the phone, including contacts, pictures and text messages.

Photo: Compact Fluorescent BulbsCompact fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury and must be recycled through ESSR’s Environmental Affairs unit.

Photo: Construction Debris TruckUniversity of Maryland recycles its construction waste from campus renovation projects. Facilities Management’s Recycling and Solid Waste Division is now taking campus construction and demolition waste to local processor Sun Recycling in Beltsville, Maryland. The Sun Services Material Recycling Facility (MRF) opened in October 2013 and serves the entire Baltimore-Washington corridor, including Maryland, Washington, DC and Northern Virginia. The facility operates as a zero landfill facility and provides customers with LEED credits. The recycling facility accepts construction debris, sorts the material by commodity type and sends to various
processors for re-use. Scrap metal, wood, gypsum, and aggregates are made into usable products. This marks an important step for our recycling and solid waste efforts on campus, because it provides business for a local vendor and cuts down on the amount of travel and carbon emissions required to responsibly dispose of the waste. Sun Recycling recycles 80% of the materials they receive at their facility. You can learn more about Sun Recycling here.

Photo: Deep fryingAll campus dining facilities collect the cooking oil and fry grease that is generated during normal operations. This material is picked up by a company that converts the discarded oil into biofuel.

Photo: Recycle bin for electronicsUniversity owned equipment that has a University Asset tag or that is storing University data, MUST be cleared through Terrapin Trader.

Peripherals and other small electronic devices can be recycled through FM’s Recycling and Solid Waste Unit. Electronics collection bins can be found at the front desk of residence halls, many IT departments, and the IT Help Desk in McKeldin Library.

Photo: Glass Recycling DumpsterGlass cannot be placed in mixed recycling bins on campus.

Glass is collected in purple dumpsters separate from other recyclables. Use these purple receptacles to drop-off empty and clean glass jars and bottles, regardless of color. Glass bottles and jars can be recycled with any metal rings, lids, or paper labels still attached. 

Only individual glass bottles and jars should go into these dumpsters - no miscellaneous glass items can be accepted. Additionally, glass should not be contained in plastic bags for recycling. 


Photo: Toner CartridgesIndividual ink and toner cartridges can be recycled in campus e-Waste recycling bins located at the front desk of residence halls and the IT Help Desk in McKeldin Library.
If your department generates a large volume of toner cartridges, email recycle@umd.edu to coordinate a pick-up. We request that many cartridges are accumulated prior to submitting a pick-up request.

Photo: MattressResidential Facilities replaces residence hall mattresses periodically. These mattress are donated to local charities or recycled.

When recycled, mattresses are separated into their individual components, including fiber, wood, and metal.

Phot: Antifreeze BottleThe Department of Transportation and the University’s Motor Pool responsibly recycle all fluids and tires from every University vehicle. Scrap automotive parts are also recycled responsibly.




Photo: Tire

Photo: Wooden palletMany buildings on campus generate unwanted pallets. FM– Recycling collects these pallets daily. Good quality pallets are sent for reuse, while unusable pallets are recycled with miscellaneous wood recycling.

Food Recovery NetworkFood Recovery Network unites students at colleges and universities to fight food waste and hunger by recovering surplus perishable food from their campuses and surrounding communities that would otherwise go to waste, and donating it to those with need.
To partner with FRN and coordinate a regular pick up schedule, contact umd@foodrecoverynetwork.org.

Photo: Scrap metalMany campus units generate scrap metal during normal operations and these entities have been provided with “Metal Only” dumpsters.

If you have scrap metal for recycling, email recycle@umd.edu to coordinate collection.

Photo: Shredded Paper

Personal shredders should be emptied into a paper bag, stapled securely closed, with ‘shredded paper’ written on the bag. This paper bag can then be placed in any mixed recycling bin or dumpster.

Alternatively, shredded paper can also go into a compost collection bin on campus.

For bulk shredding, departments can coordinate directly with local shredding companies. Listed alphabetically are companies that have previously serviced campus:



  • All-Shred
  • EZ Shred
  • Pro-Shred
  • Shred Instead
  • The Shredding Company

Terrapin Trader LogoTerrapin Trader is the University’s surplus redistribution operation that plays a major role in the reuse, redistribution, and recycling of used office furniture, lab equipment, and electronics. Through a variety of different programs, Terrapin Trader has been responsible for preventing a wide array of material from entering local landfills.

Terrapin Trader, which is open to students, staff, faculty, and the general public, sells products, accepts bids on products, and also hosts auctions. In addition to their current clientele, Terrapin Trader hopes to reach out to other institutions in the University System of Maryland in order to establish a more thorough surplus redistribution program.

Get more information about Terrapin Trader.

Photo: Writing UtensilsUniversity Libraries hosts TerraCycle’s zero waste box for pens, pencils and markers. This collection box can accept pens and pen caps, mechanical pencils, markers and marker caps, permanent markers, and permanent marker caps.

Please note: No wooden pencils or other items made from “natural materials”

Collection box locations:
• McKeldin Library Lobby
• McKeldin Library TLC
• Hornbake Library Library Media Services (lower level)

Photo: Leaf PileAll organic items generated by Landscape Services are collected and composted at local processing facilities. Yard trim and brush are taken to the Prince George's County compost facility. Leaves are taken to the City of College Park compost facility.