Materials + Waste

Reducing and diverting your waste helps you to greatly reduce your ecological footprint and minimize the amount of trash burned at the regional incinerator. Visit the Yale Recycling and City of New Haven Recycling websites for more information. Print instructional posters and post them in your workplace and home.


  • With single-stream recycling, all recyclables can go into the same bin for collection. You don’t need to separate cardboard, plastic, and paper anymore. Just make sure containers are not filled with liquid or food, and no Styrofoam. Plastic shopping bags are recyclable, but cannot be processed with the single-stream materials. Collect plastic bags and take them to Stop & Shop or your local grocery store to be recycled. Learn more about what happens to materials after they are picked up watch this video!
  • If you live in New Haven, pick up free blue bins for curbside recycling, offered by the City of New Haven. New Haven also collects yard waste in leaf bags for composting.
  • To recycle broken computers and other electronics, visit the Yale OEHS website. Computers and other electronics used for entertainment, data storage, or data transfer cannot be discarded in the regular trash.
  • Recycle compact fluorescent bulbs by contacting Yale Recycling or take your bulbs from home to Ikea. Fluorescent bulbs release toxic mercury when broken in the trash.
  • Lab Recycling: Refer to this presentation to review what’s recyclable in labs.

Reduce and reuse

  • All Yale departments, offices and labs are encouraged to post directly to the Eli Surplus Exchange website any surplus items they would like to give or sell to other departments at Yale, including furniture, office supplies and lab equipment.  
  • Start a Pen Pail for your department, and earn money for charity by collecting pens that no longer work.
  • Compost your leftovers in the dining hall. Composting diverts food waste from incinerators, and allows nutrients to be recycled through compost soil. Compost bins are located in college dining halls and Commons near the drop-off for trays.