Recycling and Waste Management

The University provides refuse and recycle services to University buildings, Residence, Halls & Commons, and Residential Properties locations. 

The University has a strong commitment to sustainability and uses a single-stream, throw-it-all-in-one-bin recycling program – meaning all recyclable items can be dropped into any recycling container on campus. On-campus, in University-owned residences, and in the House System, the following items may be thrown into the recycling bin:

  • Aluminum food and beverage containers, including cans, foil, and pie tins
  • Glass food and beverage containers – brown, clear, or green
  • Iron cans
  • Plastic containers – clear and pigmented
  • Newsprint
  • Corrugated cardboard (flattened)
  • Magazines and catalogs
  • Cereal boxes
  • Telephone books
  • Office paper
  • Mail, including FedEx envelopes and envelopes with plastic windows


  • All glass, plastic, aluminum containers, and tin cans must be empty and free of metal caps and rings and contain a minimal amount (less than five percent) of food debris
  • Tissues, paper towels, or other paper that has been in contact with food is not acceptable
  • No wax-coated paper or carbon paper
  • No plastic bags or Saran Wrap

In addition, we offer the use of 96-gallon totes for bulk recycle materials for use when cleaning out an office space, for example. You can obtain these totes by submitting a Service Request.

The University currently recycles 36 percent of its waste through its recycling and waste management programs. We strive to continually increase this number through active participation with our students, faculty, and staff. 

Fluorescent lamps and batteries:

  • Facilities Services manages the disposal and recycling of lamps — primarily the fluorescent tubes used in overhead lights. To dispose of fluorescent bulbs, contact the Facilities Service Center. Facilities will remove the bulb within seven to 14 days.
  • Facilities Services operates a free recycling program for non-rechargeable batteries of all shapes and sizes. We accept all household batteries (except cell phone batteries). Batteries can be dropped off in the lobbies of residence halls and in the kitchen of the Young Building. 

For other questions about recycling on and off-campus, check out the Environmental Research and Sustainability’s Recycling Directory.

How Do I?

UChicagoSocial: Facilities Services