Sustainability at the University of Maryland

What Can I Recycle On Campus?

The campus has switched to “Single Stream” Recycling! This means that you can put all of your recyclable materials into one recycling bin. You will see new lids on recycling containers that have one opening to fit bottles, cans, and all types of paper, making it easier to recycle, and help the University increase its recycling rate! Here is a list of what you can place in these bins:

  • Paper: Newspaper, magazines, computer paper
  • Plastic Containers: #1-7 bottles, jugs, trays, etc.
  • Cardboard: cereal boxes, frozen food packaging, etc.
  • Aluminum: cans, containers, foil, pie pans, etc.
  • Books: paperback, textbooks, hardback, phone
  • Steel/Tin Cans: soup cans, fruit cans, etc.
  • Waxed Cartons: milk and juice cartons
  • Glass: jars and bottles
  • Plastic Bags/Film: must be contained within one bag!

Click here to download and print the SustainableUMD Recycling and Trash Posters

All Types of Plastic

As of February 2009, you can now recycle all types of plastic, numbers 1-7 (see descriptions below). This means you can recycle microwavable lunch trays, yogurt containers, and all other plastic items. However, before you recycle, please rinse off plastic food containers. Beverage bottles do not have to be rinsed but please remove the cap before recycling the bottle and cap. Plastic bags and wrap can now be recycled. Please put them in a clear plastic bag and include them with glass, metal, and plastic recyclables.

Types of Plastic that Can Be Recycled On Campus:

  • #1 PET (Polyethylene terephthalate): soda bottles, oven-ready meal trays, water bottles, etc.
  • #2 HDPE (High-density polyethylene): milk bottles, detergent bottles, etc.
  • #3 PVC (Polyvinyl chloride): loose-leaf binders and plastic pipes
  • #4 LDPE (Low-density polyethylene): squeezable bottles
  • #5 PP (Polypropylene): medicine bottles, aerosol caps, drinking straws, and food containers (such as yogurt, ketchup bottles, and sour cream/butter/hummus tubs)
  • #6 PS (Polystyrene): compact disc jackets, plastic tableware, and Dining Services (Goodies to Go) food trays, etc. We CANNOT accept styrofoam but foam packing peanuts can be donated to Mailboxes Etc. in College Park for re-use.
  • #7 Other: reusable water bottles, certain kinds of food containers, and Tupperware

All of Your Paper

We recycle paper of any color and type (newspaper, magazines, file folders, copy paper, junk mail, cardboard, etc.) If you use the simple rule, "if it tears, recycle it" you will be safe! You cannot recycle used paper towels, napkins and tissues. Pizza boxes are recyclable as long as the leftovers/wax paper liner are thrown away first.

Bottles, Cans, and other Metal

Coke cans, tuna cans, frappuccino bottles... throw them all into the appropriate recycling containers. Sheets of aluminum foil can be balled up and put in recycling bins with glass/metal/plastic. Other aluminum containers such as pie pans and lids from some carry-out restaurants are recyclable. Rinse off all food from the aluminum. Video: Bill Nye explains why recycling aluminum is so important!


All electronic equipment at the University is considered surplus equipment and is collected by Terrapin Trader. Functional equipment may be sold to the general public and that which cannot be sold or does not work is sent to a qualified vendor where it is deconstructed into individual components which are recycled. To contact Terrapin Trader, visit

Used Toner and Ink Cartridges

All used toner and ink cartridges from University fax machines and printers are accepted by General Stores, part of Procurement and Supply. You may either have your item picked up when you receive a delivery from General Stores (the delivery people will just take it) or you may send the item or deliver it to: General Stores Building 383 (on Paint Branch Parkway across from the Maryland Fire Rescue Institute) Campus Zip 6711. If you have any questions about, call General Stores at 301.405.5854.


Batteries of all types can now be recycled on campus. To order a battery recycling bin for your building, please email Lead acid batteries can be recycled by contacting the Department of Environmental Safety at 301.405.3960.

Food Waste is Composted in Dining Halls

Food left on your plate will be composted if you eat in the dining halls. If you must use take-out containers (made of biodegradable bagasse), you can dispose of them in the compost bins located in dining hall dining rooms.

Click here to view the Waste and Recycling Report.

Still have questions? See the Recycling FAQs...