Reduce First!

The first step in mitigating our impact on the earth is reduction of resource use, however some waste is unavoidable. Recycling can help decrease the impact of this waste. Glass, steel, aluminum, many plastics and food waste are particularly efficient recyclables; it takes much less energy to take these materials back into new items (new cans, recycled glass) or into something else usable (soil from compost, insulation or synthetic fabrics from plastics).

Single Stream:

You can recycle almost all your waste! Glass, aluminum, paper, boxboard and all numbered plastics go in the same bin. Because of new better sorting methods a mistake won’t ruin a whole batch, so when in doubt, recycle it. However, most things that are not recyclable in single stream usually fall into one of three categories:

Dirty: Any food waste or anything with food or liquid stains,  cannot be recycled. Please Empty and rinse any cans and containers and take lids off of bottles.

Delicate: Thin paper products like tissues and paper towels do not have enough good fibers to recycle. Styrofoam breaks and does not transport well. Plastic bags and wraps do not recycle in single stream because they can clog machines.

Different: Rubber, cloth, chemicals and other materials cannot go in single stream. Items that are not containers or have multiple parts (window glass, electronics, toys, aerosols) typically cannot go in single stream but can often be recycled in other ways.

More Recyclables On Campus:

Dorm recycling representatives and the Ward building can collect:

Light bulbs
Rechargeable batteries (normal alkaline go in the trash)
Aerosol cans
ink cartridges


Any non-trash unwanted item (books, clothing, furniture, magazines, soaps, nonperishable foods) can be placed in the free box, located on every floor of every dorm. Items in these boxes are free for anyone to take and divert hundreds of pounds of trash a year. One woman’s trash is another’s treasure. Any items left at the end of the academic year are sold at a yard sale for charity,  any other remains are donated.

Books and Shoes

Keep an eye out for book and shoe drives that usually happen every year on campus with boxes in dorms or the campus center.

More Recycling off Campus

Other? See the Recycling Guide for Philadelphia


Contact this year’s recycling co heads for questions about what can/cannot be recycled, student activism, comments/suggestions and how to get involved.

Delaney Williams and Lara Fields

For replacement bins or additional bins for large events please contact housekeeping.

For questions about items recycled on campus please contact Facilities services.


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