There are a variety of opportunities to reduce, reuse and 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. To learn what's recyclable on campus, visit the Recycling Guidelines page.
Choose to Reuse
One of the strategies to achieve our zero waste goal is to increase reuse of a broader range of items on campus. Here are a few opportunities to reduce your everyday waste by choosing to reuse:
With more than 250 filtered water bottle-filling stations on the Princeton campus, students, staff and visitors have easy access to free filtered water for their reusable water bottles and mugs. "Drink Local" water bottles can be purchased at the U-Store on University Place.
Reusable Mug Discount
Campus Dining provides offer discounts to Princeton campus community members who use their own reusable mugs instead of disposable cups in Cafe Vivian, the Food Gallery at Frist, Chancellor Green Cafe, and Studio '34.
Reuse and Donation Options on Campus
Donate or find furniture, electronics, binders, folders and more! The Resource Recovery warehouse is located at 755 Alexander Road and open to Princeton faculty and staff, students and the local community.
HELPSY Clothing Donation Bins are located across campus in laundry rooms in the following locations: Bloomberg Hall basement, Forbes College main building and basement in the annex, Witherspoon Hall, Baker Hall, Henry Hall, Pyne Hall and Spelman Hall. These are open to Princeton University students only.
HELPSY accepts clothing in any condition (torn, worn, stained, missing buttons, broken zippers, etc.) as long as they are clean, dry, and odorless. More information on what they accept can be found on their website.
Books can be donated at several collection locations across campus, listed below. Better World Books finds the best possible use for each book collected in support of our mission to promote literacy. Books are either sold to raise money for non-profit literacy programs, sent to one of our non-profit partners for use in their programs, or recycled if unsuitable for sale or partner use. Accepted materials include: books and monographs, rare books, children's books, textbooks, foreign language books, hardcover and paperback, DVDs and Blu-Ray Discs, audiobooks on CD, video games. Campus collection locations include:
- Green Hall – 1st Floor Lobby
- 185 Nassau Street – Matthews Acting Studio Room 104
- Sherrerd Hall – 2nd Floor Study Area by room 203
- Guyot Hall – 1st Floor Lobby by Dinosaur Statue
- East Pyne – 1st Floor westside by elevator
- Morrison Hall – 1st floor entryway
- Equad – The café 1st floor main lobby
- Hoyt – 1st floor by room 307
- 5 Ivy Lane – Main Entrance
- Physics – By 1st Floor by room A21
Use the Free and For Sale Facebook group to sell and purchase dorm items, clothing, textbooks, etc. (Open to Princeton University students only!)
Use Tiger ReTail to sell or purchase new/used furniture, books, housewares and more! For Princeton University campus community (students/staff/faculty) only.
Join the Free Office Supplies Listserv to send and receive emails offering new or gently used office supplies for free. Open to Princeton community (students/staff/faculty) only.
Clothing donations are accepted year-round in a Trenton Rescue Mission collection box, located in Lot 20 at the far left end, near the fence and Lakeside Apartments.
The University partners with Organic Diversion, a food waste hauler based in Marlton, N.J. to recover uneaten food when it cannot be sold or donated. Organic Diversion diverts the food to either animal feed or composting, thereby promoting environmental health and justice by reducing reliance on landfills and incinerators.
Please Note: The University is limiting food scraps collection to the major dining venues on campus and select graduate student housing (Lakeside and Lawrence apartments). Other requests for food scrap collection are unable to be fulfilled at this time. Additionally, composting activities at the S.C.R.A.P. Lab are currently on hold due to a planned facility relocation to accommodate capital development efforts associated with the University’s Campus Plan. Updates on the operational restart date will be communicated on the project's Blog.
In September 2018, the Office of Sustainability launched a food scraps demonstration project to called the Sustainable Composting Research at Princeton Lab or S.C.R.A.P. Lab. The S.C.R.A.P. Lab converts a portion of the campus’s uneaten food into a nutrient-rich soil amendment for campus grounds, while supporting academic research around organics recycling.
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.
PLAN Discounts and Zero Waste Resources
Princeton University is a member of the Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN) network of over 80 campuses across the country.
PLAN cultivates, educates, and inspires the student-led zero waste movement. They inform students about the waste crisis and equip them with the necessary skills and resources to implement solutions to waste in their campus communities.
All Princeton students, faculty and staff are able to access the Member Resources and Discounts on the PLAN website by registering on their website. Resources include workshops and webinars, the annual zero waste conference, manuals and guides on several zero waste programs and discounts on eco-friendly products.
Please contact [email protected] with any questions about PLAN or the membership benefits.
Off Campus Recycling and Reuse Resources
- Earth 911 - Search for hard to recycle items, results are filtered by recycling collection areas/programs near you!