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What To Recycle

Mixed Paper

Mixed paper is the term used for all types and grades of paper. Paper and cardboard are collected together, a.k.a. "commingled," from all buildings on campus.

Newspapers, Magazines and Catalogs (including glossies)

All newspapers, magazines & catalogs can be recycled in mixed paper recycling bins. Anything printed on newsprint is also accepted.

Did you know? The capacity of a recycling dumpster increases 8-10 times when boxes are broken down.

Do Recycle

o   Newspaper

o   Class Time Schedule

o   Glossy Paper

o   Inserts and Coupon Sections

o   Magazines & Catalogs

o   Glue or Staple Binding OK

Do Not Recycle

o   Yellowed wet newspaper

Did you know? Newspapers and magazines are sorted from other paper grades at the recycling facility. They are baled and shipped to paper mills and manufacturers who turn them into new newsprint, gray boxboard (e.g. cereal boxes), cellulose insulation and other fiber products.

Paperboard and Boxboard

Gray boxboard or paperboard is recyclable . Boxes should be emptied and flattened . Small quantities can be placed directly in the Mixed Paper recycling bins in office buildings and Academic buildings.

Do Recycle

o   Empty Cereal and Dry Food Boxes

o   Empty Tissue Boxes

o   Gift Boxes

o   Office Supply Boxes

o   Toilet Paper and Paper Towel Rolls

Do Not Recycle

o   Frozen Food Boxes

o   Ice Cream Cartons

o   Plastic or Cellophane Inserts

o   Wax Coated Boxes

Telephone Books and Paperback Books

Telephone Books can now be recycled all year long at the University. Please neatly stack phone directories next to the bin.

Do Recycle

o   Paperbacks

o   Soft Covered Books

o   Student Directory

o   Telephone Books

o   Hard Covered Books*

o   Text Books**

Do Not Recycle

o   Yellowed wet newspapers

Did you know?  Most Telephone books are turned into cellulose insulation.

*    Hard covered books can also be donated to your local library.
**   Many bookstores (including the Penn State Bookstore) offer buy-back opportunities for used text books.

Office Paper and Junk Mail

Most office paper generated in a typical office and school setting can be recycled. A general rule of thumb, "if you can rip it, you can recycle it" holds true with a few exceptions. Any paper that has come in contact with food or human body cannot be recycled. Office paper can be recycled in any 'mixed paper' bin located throughout hallways, offices, residence halls, computing centers and building lobbies.

Do Recycle

o   All Envelopes

o   Blueprints

o   Campus Mail Envelopes

o   Colored Paper

o   Copier Paper

o   Course packs (Remove plastic binders)

o   Flyers and Brochures

o   Index Cards

o   "Junk Mail"

o   NCR Paper

o   Notebook Paper

o   Post-It Notes

o   Shredded Paper

o   Staples and Paperclips are OK

Do Not Recycle

o   Carbon Paper

o   Copy Paper Wrappers

o   Hard Covered Books

o   Photographs

o   Plastic Bindings or Clips

o   Plastic Transparencies

o   Thermal (coated) Fax paper

o   Food Wrapping or Napkins

o   Tissue or Paper Towels

o   Tyvek (plastic) Envelopes

Corrugated Cardboard and Paper Bags 

Corrugated cardboard boxes must be emptied and flattened for recycling.

Did you know? The capacity of a recycling dumpster increases 8-10 time when boxes are broken down.

Do Recycle

o   Cardboard Boxes

o   Brown Paper Bags, stuffed together

o   Package Labels & Tape are OK to leave on cardboard

Do not Recycle

o   Frozen Food Boxes

o   Packaging Materials (Styrofoam)

o   Packing "peanuts"

o   Pizza or Food boxes

In Academic/Administrative buildings, put flattened cardboard boxes next to any recycle station in the building (This indicates to the custodial staff that the box is meant to be recycled.)

Did you know? Packaging peanuts or Styrofoam cannot be left in cardboard boxes for recycling.

Cans/Bottles (Glass, Metal and Plastic)

Cans/Bottles is the term used for food and beverage containers. The following items are collected together, a.k.a. "commingled," from selected areas of academic/administrative buildings, and outdoor locations across campus.

Glass Bottles and Jars

Glass and ceramics are collected in the CONTAINERS category. This includes any bottles , jars and ceramics or glassware.

Do Recycle

o   All Color

o   Bottles

o   Ceramic mugs & plates

o   Drinking glasses

o   Food Jars

o   Labels are OK

o   Chemical bottles*

o   Laboratory glass*

Do Not Recycle

o   Light bulbs**

o   Sharps

* Chemical bottles and Laboratory glass must be picked up by PSU Environmental Health and Safety. Find out all the details by logging on to http://www.ehs.psu.edu/hazmat/index.cfm

** Lamps containing mercury see http://www.lamprecycle.org/ or call 1-800-435-4448

Did you know? Bottle or "container glass" is crushed into cullet, melted and formed into new bottles by bottle manufacturers.

Plastic Bottles

Plastic bottles and jugs marked #1 and #2 are collected with the CONTAINERS recycling category. Only bottles , jugs and screw-top jar shapes are accepted. Only bottles, jugs and screw-top jar shapes are accepted. These are "blow-molded" plastics and are compatible with recycling. Other tub/cup shapes are "injection molded" and are NOT compatible, regardless of the number.

Do Recycle

o   Water/Sports Drink Bottles

o   Milk jugs

o   Salad Dressing Bottles

o   Soap and Shampoo Bottles

o   Labels and caps are OK

Do Not Recycle

o   Molded Plastic Toys

o   Plastic Bags or Film

o   Plastic Utensils or Plates

o   Foam/Polystyrene

o   Wide Mouth plastic tubs


What's the Deal with the Numbers?

Today you will find soda, milk, juice, water, ketchup, Jam, other condiments, health and beauty products, and cleaning products in plastic containers.

These containers are generally bottles. Approximately 95% of all plastic bottles are of two resin types: polyethylene terepthalate (PET or PETE ) and high density polyethylene (HDPE). PET bottles usually have a number one on the bottom and HDPE usually have a number two.

Look for the SPI (Society of Plastics Industry) code on the bottom of all plastic food and beverage containers. Bottles with #1 and #2 are accepted.

Did you Know? Plastics are sorted by type at the recycling facility. Most plastics are shredded into flakes, melted into pellets and then formed into new products including: plastic lumber, bottles, polyester used for carpets or jacket filling, benches, plastic pots, etc.

Steel Cans, Aluminum & Metals

Steel and aluminum containers are collected in the CONTAINERS category. This also includes aluminum foil, pie plates and small scrap metal objects.

Do Recycle

o   Aluminum Cans

o   Clean, flattened foil

o   Empty aerosol cans

o   Labels are OK

o   Metal lids from jars

o   Pie tins

o   Small scrap metal (e.g. old pots & pans)

o   Steel Cans (e.g. soup cans)

Do Not Recycle

o   Batteries***

o   Electrical Appliances*

o   Light Bulbs**

* Large appliances, or "white goods", such as refrigerators, microwaves, and air conditioners, can be recycled. E-mail Mike Mahon (mpm10@psu.edu) to arrange for a special pick up.

** Lamps containing mercury see http://www.lamprecycle.org/ or call 1-800-435-4448

*** Batteries - see Special Items/Batteries

Metals are separated at the recycling facility by type (i.e. ferrous/steel and non-ferrous/aluminum) and sent to manufacturers or steel mills to be melted and formed into new products.

Large scrap metal items (like shelving, pipe, metal cabinets) can be picked up from your building by Maintenance & Operations. E-mail the M&O Department (piv1@psu.edu) or call 610-396-6260 and schedule a 'heavy' recycling special item pick-up.

Special Items


Rechargeable batteries are considered hazardous waste because of the heavy metals within them and cannot be legally disposed of in the regular trash.

Most retail stores like Best Buy and Walmart will recycle the following at no cost to the consumer:

o   Nickel cadmium

o   Nickel metal hydride

o   Lithium ion

o   Small sealed lead

Computer Equipment

Computer equipment like CPUs, monitors, and printers contain hazardous materials that should be recycled.  More information can be found at: http://www.aercrecycling.com/.

Did you know?  An average CRT monitor contains 5 pounds of lead!