How to Recycle Right at UR

Results of the Campus Race to Zero Waste competition were released yesterday! Congratulations to the winning campuses:

Zero Waste:

  • Western Colorado University (Small)
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Large)

Food Organics:

  • Wofford College (Small)
  • Loyola Marymount University (Medium)
  • Central Michigan University (Large)


  • Macalester College (Small)
  • Loyola Marymount University (Medium)
  • University of Louisville (Large)

Per Capita Recycling:

  • Coe College (Small)
  • Loyola Marymount University (Medium)
  • Stanford University (Large)

Having concluded for the spring 2022 semester, many questions were received throughout the campaign regarding the right way to recycle items. It can definitely be a lot to remember! So here’s a refresher on how to recycle on campus and also off campus. Remember, recycling rules vary from location to location so always make sure to check with your local county regarding what the recycling regulations are.

The University’s sustainability website contains extensive information regarding how to recycle certain items on campus. You may have also seen these posters around recycling bins on campus. The most common question encountered is regarding recycling single use plastics used in the dining halls and other food locations on campus such as the Pit and Starbucks. A rule of thumb is that if any item has food waste or liquid, it goes in the trash. Single use plastics, utensils, cups, lids, clamshells and napkins are NON RECYCLABLE items. Paper bags, cardboard boxes and containers are recyclable as long as they do not contain food waste.

For off campus residents, this guide to residential recycling on the Monroe County website would be helpful. The Monroe County Recycling Center (MCRC) accepts mixed recycling which means you need not separate plastics, paper, cardboard, metal and glass in the recycling bins; a single recycling bin can hold all recyclable items. The MCRC guide provides details on what household items can be recycled. Most containers are recyclable as long as they are cleaned of waste and the lids are reattached. Shredded paper is accepted as long as it is contained in a brown paper bag.

Items not accepted by the MCRC program include and are not limited to electronics, hazardous waste, clothing and prescription bottles. If you need to dispose of these items, check the ecopark website. Ecopark is a partnership between Monroe County and Waste Management to provide a “one stop drop off” for residential recycling. For those who live on campus and wish to recycle these items on campus, Facilities Team Green partners with organizations to provide several opportunities to do so throughout the year:

For more information about recycling at the University of Rochester, contact Amy Kadrie, Sustainability Coordinator at


Written by Hanyia Ahmed, Class of 2022



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