Recycling Guidelines

There are a variety of opportunities to recycle items on and off campus. One of the key goals in Princeton's Sustainability Action Plan is to strive for zero waste through behavioral and operational strategies that include reduction, reuse and recycling. 


Recycling on Campus App:

Download the “Recycling on Campus” mobile app to learn what can--and can't--be recycled on campus. Users of the app will also receive updates about campus recycling and related initiatives.

recycling app icon

The app can be accessed free of charge from mobile devices through the iTunes Store and Google Play, or through digital assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home.


Recycling Guidelines:

Everywhere on campus you can mix all acceptable recyclables - paper, plastic, metal, etc. - in any recycling bin, even if the label says otherwise. Be sure to read the recycling guidelines below and empty out containers (remove caps/lids) before placing them in the bins. When in doubt, throw it out!

Help us make recycling a success on campus by recycling properly and avoiding contamination. Visit our FAQ page on contamination and recycling for more information.



recycling paper and cardboard sign with magazines, paper and cardboard images


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
  • Beverage cartons
  • Newspaper
  • Magazines
  • Posters
  • Paper bags


Plastic Bottles and Cans

yellow background with bottles and cans with images of glass, metal and plastic bottles and jugs for recycling
  • Plastic bottles and jugs - empty out containers; remove plastic lids
  • Aluminum cans, steel/tin cans - empty out containers



  • Glass bottles and jars - empty out containers; remove lids


Landfill (Not Recyclable)

black background with landfill white text items like plastic bags and utensils, plastic packaged items and Styrofoam for landfill
  • Food waste
  • Paper food items - napkins, plates, bowls, paper towels, tissues, etc.
  • Paper contaminated with food
  • To-go coffee cups and paper soda cups and lids
  • Plastic beverage pods (K-cups, etc.) - learn about the Grounds to Grow on program below
  • Plastic "clamshell" containers 
  • Pizza boxes
  • Plastic cups
  • Frozen food boxes
  • Yogurt containers
  • Plastic utensils - forks, knives, spoons, straws
  • Plastic catering trays and lids (all black plastic is NOT recyclable)
  • Alkaline batteries - learn where to recycle rechargeable batteries below
  • Plastic- or wax-coated paper, cardboard and cartons
  • Metal-lined shelf-stable "aseptic" containers (e.g. milk, soup)
  • Plastic wrappers
  • Plastic bags - but they can be recycled at the U-Store 
  • Styrofoam
  • Ceramics - whole or broken coffee cups or plates go in the trash
  • Broken glass - broken windows, light bulb glass, glass dishes/plates/cups go in the trash
  • Aerosol cans (e.g. empty food and household cleaning products)
  • Shredded paper
  • Hardcover books - learn where to donate books on campus


Hard to Recycle Collections on Campus

Electronics and Batteries

  • Wireless Alliance recycling bin is available at the GreenSpace on the 100 level of Frist (across from Witherspoon's cafe and Cafe Vivian) and accepts: all cell phones, smart phones, PDA's, iPods, digital cameras and iPads regardless of age or condition, chargers and accessories, rechargeable batteries, all accessories including cases. Items are donated or recycled in an EPA certified domestic facility. 

  • Rechargeable batteries can be recycled in the Wireless Alliance bin mentioned above. 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.

  • Properly dispose of broken, outdated and unusable office electronics (computers, laptops, printers, fax machines, office phones, etc.) through the University's Resource Recovery Program. For more information, email [email protected] or call (609) 258-2347. 



  • K-Cycle Program - WB Mason provides this program for free to all University departments who meet the following requirement: Either have a WB Mason free rental machine or own your own Keurig machine and purchase all K-cup products from WB Mason. To sign up for the program, email Donna Serafine with your dept name & K-Cycle Set-up Request as the subject line and your Department name, attention name for the program, email address you'd like associate with the program, address, phone number and the approximate amount of K-cups you typically purchase monthly in the body of the email. Once enrolled, the K-Cycle collection boxes will be sent to your department. WB Mason also offers certified organic, Fair Trade certified, and Rainforest Alliance certified coffee products.


Off Campus Recycling Resources:

  • Earth 911 - Search for something you want to recycle, results are filtered by recycling centers near you!

Access the Recycling app online

More Info

For more information on recycling at Princeton or to request a recycling bin, contact Facilities Customer Service at 609-258-8000.