Recycling Information

Columbia collects recyclable materials throughout campus (including our residence centers). Below is a detailed list of what materials we recycle on campus.

Students can contact Sustainability via recycling AT colum DOT edu, faculty and staff should open 360 requests.


All kinds of batteries can be recycled in marked bins, which are located in the lobby of all main campus buildings. This includes lead, nickel, lithium, and alkaline types. As well as sizes A, AA, AAA, C, D, 9 volt and batteries made for cell phones.

Bins can be found in the lobbies of the following buildings: 33 E Congress, 600 S Michigan, 618 S Michigan, 623 S Wabash, 624 S Michigan, 731 S Plymouth, 916 S Wabash, 1104 S Wabash, 1306 S Michigan. Collection tubes are also placed near the 5th Floor Film Cage at 1104 S Wabash.

To recycle oversized industrial batteries, large 6 volt batteries, or large quantities of batteries, please contact Recycling for pick-up and removal.

All boxes should be broken down and stored in or near paper recycling bins. Please remove all packing material that is not recycleable.
Commingled items

Please recycle plastic, aluminum, and glass in the green bins found on campus.

Acceptable items include: plastic bottles, glass bottles (all colors), aluminum or steel cans, aluminum trays, foil. For plastic bottles, please check the number on the bottom. We can recycle #1 PET, #2 HDPE, #3 PVC, #4 LPDE, #5 PP, and #7 other.

We cannot recycle #6 PS (Polystyrene or Styrofoam).


Please Compost all food scraps/waste as well as paper coffee cups and paper food packaging. Look for specific compost bins in student spaces on campus. Do not include liquids. Do not place any plastic, metal, glass materials into compost bins.

Coffee Cups can also be placed in designated coffee cup collection bins in lobbies or student spaces on buildings.

View a Compost poster detailing How-to's and facts. Download and share with your office or department.

Recycling in dormitories

Please wash out all containers or bottles, and sort recycling appropriately. This will keep your room and the building clean.

731 S Plymouth: Large blue recycling toters for paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum are located in the trash room on each floor. Bins for plastic bags and battery recycling can be found in the lobby.

2 E 8th: There is a small recycling toter located in the first floor dock.

University Center: Large recycling bins for paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum are located on every floor. Look for the drop off areas on your floor.

Dwight Lofts offer single stream recycling of all paper, plastic, glass and aluminum. There are collection speedpacks located in the basement. Please take all materials from your room to this location.


As of January 1, 2012, the Illinois Products Recycling and Reuse Act has made extensive changes to the disposal of electronics.

The following items cannot be thrown in the trash and must be recycled: cable receivers, computers and tablets (all sizes), digital converter boxes, DVD players/recorders, keyboards, mice, facsimile machines, monitors, portable music players, printers, satellite receivers, scanners, small scale servers, televisions, video game consoles, videocassette recorders.

To schedule a recycling collection of these items, faculty and staff must submit a 360 facility request selecting the Type: IT Requests, and Sub Type: Electronics Recycling
For any other questions feel free to email recycling AT colum DOT edu.


All types of film can be recycled in specifically marked grey recycling bins. For more information, please contact us or Cynthia Harrig (, 312-369-8044).

Fluorescent light bulbs

Due to the chemicals present in fluorescent light bulbs, light bulbs should not be thrown in the trash. Contact us for a pick-up.

Hazardous materials

Do not dispose of chemicals, paints, or solvents by washing them down the drain. We will collect and dispose of them in an environmentally friendly manner. Contact Susan Rizer ( for disposal.


Please recycle paper and cardboard in the blue bins. Accepted paper products include office paper of all colors, newspapers, magazines notebook paper, folders, hard and soft cover books, flattened cardboard, and paperboard (from kleenex boxes, paper rolls, food boxes).

Shredded paper

Shredded paper should only go into clear plastic bags.


Gray bins specifically marked technotrash will accept digital media such as DVDs, CDs, VHS, DAT tapes, and floppy or zip discs. Cases and paper inserts can also be recycled in these bins.

These bins can be found in 33 E Congress (basement, floors 2, 6), 600 S Michigan (floors 7, 14), 916 S Wabash (first floor), and 1104 S Wabash (floors 3,4,5,6,7).