Can I Recycle This?

What and Where to Recyle at Princeton

Here are basic recycling guidelines as well as information about composting on campus. Below you will find a handy PDF to help you recycle correctly at Princeton.

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)

Not recyclable: Paper contaminated with food; napkins, paper towels and tissues; plastic- or wax-coated paper, cardboard and cartons; metal-lined shelf-stable "aseptic" containers (e.g. milk, soup)

Plastic

  • Plastic containers with recycling codes #1-7* (empty and rinse out containers; lids are okay, but should be attached to the container)
  • Grocery and resealable (e.g. Ziploc bags); Recycling bins are available in laundry rooms and at the entrances to the U-Store on University Place

* 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 and rinse out containers; colors are okay)

Metal

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

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.
  • 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, David Thomas

Not recyclable: Alkaline batteries (note that using rechargeable batteries is a greener choice!)

Pens

The Office of Finance & Treasury has initiated a new recycling option partnering with TerraCycle®. Waste is sent to Terracycle and then waste is upcycled or recycled into various products. The following types of waste can be collected : Pens, pen caps, mechanical pencils, markers, marker caps, highlighters, highlighter caps, permanent markers, permanent markers caps. You can recycle your pens at the Greenspace Kiosk in Frist - look for the tall blue tube of pens! If your department would like to participate in this program please contact Lisa Leisinger (lisari@) in Purchasing for more information.

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb (CFL) Recycling

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:

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

Batteries

For certain 9 volt battery types, including alkaline, carbon-zinc and mercury, recycling kits are available from Waste Management Associates.

Recycling Resources

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

Waste Reduction

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.

Get involved in the waste reduction movement on campus!

  • Reduce waste by opting for products with less packaging.
  • Reuse items again and again.
  • Recycle acceptable materials in campus recycling bins and compete each year in "Recyclemania" - a college and university recycling competition.
  • Donate unwanted, reusable materials (e.g. school supplies, books, clothing, food, toiletries) to worthy causes at collection sites on campus at the end of each academic year.

Composting at Princeton

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.