Can I Recycle This?

Princeton now accepts MIXED RECYCLING!

Everywhere on campus you can now mix all acceptable recyclables - paper, plastic, metal, etc. - in any recycling bin, even if the label says otherwise; all bins will soon be accurately labeled. Be sure to read the recycling guidelines below and empty out containers (keep caps/lids on) before placing them in the bins. Download an abbreviated guide to what you can and can't recycle (.png)

Mixed Recycling Guidelines:

Recyclable

Mixed Paper and Cardboard

  • Office paper and mail (glossy paper, plastic envelope windows, metal staples and clips are okay)
  • Cardboard and paperboard (break down/flatten boxes)
  • Newspaper
  • Magazines
  • Posters
  • Paper bags
  • Books (both hard cover and paperback)

Plastic

  • Plastic containers with recycling codes #1-7* (empty out containers; lids are okay, but should be attached to the container)
  • Grocery and resealable (e.g. Ziploc bags) plastic bags

* What is a plastic recycling code? A number, usually in a triangle on the bottom of the container:

recycling codes

Glass

  • Glass bottles and jars (empty out containers; colors are okay)

Metal

  • Aluminum (e.g. soda cans) and steel/tin cans and lids (empty out containers)
  • Aerosol cans (e.g. empty food and household cleaning products)

Not Recyclable

  • Napkins, paper towels and tissues
  • Paper contaminated with food
  • Food
  • Alkaline batteries
  • Tetra paks
  • Plastic- or wax-coated paper, cardboard and cartons
  • Metal-lined shelf-stable "aseptic" containers (e.g. milk, soup)

Other Recycling Collections on Campus:

Electronics and Batteries

  • Cell phones and peripherals: A recycling bin is available on the 100 level of Frist. Phones are donated or recycled in an EPA certified domestic facility. 
  • Rechargeable batteries: A recycling bin is available on the 100 level of Frist. Note: using rechargeable batteries is a greener choice as Alkaline batteries are not recyclable!
  • For certain 9 volt battery types, including alkaline, carbon-zinc and mercury, recycling kits are available from Waste Management Associates. 
  • Ink and toner cartridges: Recycling bins are available in most computer clusters. All University departments can request a toner cartridge recycling container from Office Max.  For more information, please contact Office Max customer service representative, Cynthia Heumann
  • OIT picks up, reuses and recycles large electronic waste (computers, laptops, printers, fax machines, office phones, etc.)

Pens

  • Writing Utensils can be recycled at the GreenSpace Kiosk in Frist through TerraCycle®. The following types of utensils can be collected : Pens, pen caps, mechanical pencils, markers, marker caps, highlighters, highlighter caps, permanent markers, permanent markers caps. Waste is sent to Terracycle and then waste is upcycled or recycled into various products.
  • If your department would like a TerraCycle collection box, please contact Lisa Leisinger (lisari@) in Purchasing for more information.

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs)

The Office of Sustainability is working with Building Services to set up a program to provide CFL recycling pick-up points right here on campus. Stay tuned for more information at the program develops. In the meantime, two options are available to recycle your used CFL bulbs:

  • Take to the service counter of any Home Depot to be recycled for free
  • Order a kit from Waste Management Associates which allows you to mail your bulbs to a recycling facility

Composting

  • There is a very robust food scraps recycling effort on campus. In the dining halls, all food scraps both from the kitchen and plate scrapings are sent to local farms. All back-of-the-counter scraps from prep in Frist are also sent to the same locations.
  • Graduate Students have opportunities to compost at their apartment complexes. Contact your residence council or committee for more information about how and where to compost. Students who live off campus in the town of Princeton can participate in the municipal curbside organic program.

Related resources:

  • Princeton is committed to reducing its total waste stream while increasing the percentage of recycling across all categories including "household" items, demolition and construction debris, and food waste. Learn more about the University's progress toward our waste reduction goals.
  • Earth 911 - Search for something you want to recycle, results are filtered by recycling centers near you!

For more information on recycling at Princeton or to request a recycling bin, contact Building Services at 258-3490 or Facilities Customer Service at 258-8000.