Managing Materials

Out of sight, out of mind. Have you ever stopped to consider what happens to the items we dispose of when we’re finished with them? Refer to the information and guidelines below to learn how waste is collected and measured at Yale, how these processes advance Yale’s sustainability goals, and ways to deal with a range of waste materials on campus.


Best practices

To ensure that your materials are being disposed of properly, refer to the Best practices for signage and bins.  

Single Stream recycling

All recyclables (paper, metal, plastics 1, 2, and 5, and glass) can go into the same recycling bin for collection. Make sure containers are not filled with liquid or food. 
Plastic shopping bags are recyclable, but cannot be processed with the single-stream materials. Collect plastic bags and take them to your local grocery store for recycling.
Cardboard can be recycled through single-stream recycling. Greasy pizza boxes cannot be recycled. Boxes should be flattened and placed in and upright depository. 
Recycling tools: 
  • The Recycle CT Wizard allows you to search specific items and learn whether or not they can be recycled. 
  • For a detailed list of materials that can and cannot be recycled on campus, visit

Shredded paper

Any paper placed in the InfoShred bins will be shredded and recycled. Shredded paper cannot be recycled in single-stream recycling.

Electronic and regulated waste

Electronic waste, also known as universal waste or e-waste, includes computers, phones, printers, or any other electronic equipment. It is regulated by the Yale Office of Environmental Health and Safety. Requests for pick up can be made here
Yale’s e-waste is processed by Take2Recycle. They also offer information for managing residential e-waste
Cartridges: Recycle all printer cartridges through Yale’s office supply vendor, W.B Mason. To have your cartridges picked up call W.B. Mason: 
  • Call (888) 926-2766 (ext. 5001) 
  • Hand off your used printer and toner cartridges on your next scheduled delivery.
BatteriesNon-alkaline batteries can be recycled through the Yale Office of Environmental Health and Safety, using the EHS Integrator. This website allows you to request hazardous waste pickup, including batteries.
*You must be logged in with your Yale net ID to access this site.

Reusable items

Eli Surplus Exchange: Reusable items, such as office or lab equipment, can be sold or exchanged through Yale’s Eli Surplus Exchange. Consider this option if you are in the market for a new desk or chair. 
Yale Transport, Receiving, and Storage (TR&S) TR&S is responsible for either moving or storing furniture and other items. Consider this option if your office is relocating.
Spring SalvageSpring Salvage is an annual resource recovery and waste diversion program held during undergraduate student move-out. Yale College students can donate reusable items such as:
  • Books
  • Beds
  • Electronics
  • Clothing
  • Furniture for reuse
Other clothing and collection drives take place throughout the course of the year, facilitated by student groups such as Bulldog Sustainability and the Sustainability Liaisons.
CT Material Exchange: The CT Department of Energy & Environment Protection encourages the reduction of waste through materials reuse programs. A list of categories of acceptable materials for reuse and relevant reuse programs can be found on the CT DEEP website.

Food and food waste

All food waste from Yale College Dining Halls is processed at an anaerobic digestion facility. If you are in a non-dining hall location and would like to request a food waste receptacle for an event where food is served, please request a Routine Facilities Service Request at least a week in advance. Efforts to offer food waste bins in additional locations are underway, and the hope is to increase the number of collection sites in future years. 
 Acceptable food waste and organic material includes
  • Bread, pasta and grains
  • Pastries
  • Rice and beans
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Cheese and yogurt
  • Eggs and egg shells
  • Meat, poultry and seafood
  • Bones
  • Nuts and shells
  • Condiments
  • Coffee grounds, coffee filters, and tea bags

The following items are unacceptable

  • Glass
  • Plastic or plastic film
  • Metal
  • Foil
  • Styrofoam
  • Excessive liquids or hot liquids
  • K-cups
  • Latex and rubber gloves
  • Electronics
  • Human and animal waste,
  • Waxy paper
  • Large quantities of oil or grease
  • Toxic materials
Donate all unopened, leftover food and beverages to a local food bank. The Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen (DESK) and The Yale Hunger and Homeless Action Project (YHHAP) both provide food for those in need. All non-perishable food and food refrigerated in a timely manner is accepted. 

Municipal Solid Waste

Yale’s garbage, or Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), is collected by All American Waste. It is then brought to the New Haven transfer station and taken to the Wheelabrator, a waste-to-energy facility in Bridgeport, CT where it is incinerated.

Wood and brush

Wood: Wooden materials includes wood pallets, lumber, brush, etc. They are collected for reuse, composting, or wood chips. Wood pallets and lumber are processed at St. Joseph’s Wood Products.
Brush: Brush includes leaves, branches, twigs, etc., that falls naturally or is pruned is collected by Yale Grounds Maintenance and then processed into mulch. Brush is also taken to G&G Earth Materials in Branford, CT or to the New Haven Transfer Station.

Construction and demolition materials

According to Yale’s Sustainable Design Requirements, construction and demolition waste (e.g. concrete, drywall, bricks, etc.) from large construction projects at Yale may not exceed 2.5 pounds per square foot of the building’s floor area. Smaller projects must divert a minimum of 75% through reuse or recycling.

Bulky waste

Bulky waste is any oversized waste that is too large to be collected through traditional waste procedures.
  • If reusable (e.g. furniture), it can go to Goodwill Industries; Yale Transport, Receiving, and Storage; or it can be sold or exchanged through Yale’s Eli Surplus Exchange.
  • A bulky item that has reached the end of its useful life goes to the New Haven Transfer Station or All American Waste, where recyclable materials are sorted out and non-recyclable parts are discarded.

Lab equipment and supplies

Reusable lab equipment and supplies can be sold or exchanged through Yale’s Eli Surplus Exchange
The following lab supplies are recyclable through Yale’s Laboratory Recycling program
  • Pipette tip boxes
  • Aluminum foil and trays
  • Media, serum and saline bottles
  • Plastic and glass (no pyrex)
  • Metal
  • Paperboard (e.g. glove boxes)
  • Rigid plastic packaging
  • Paper
  • Cardboard boxes
Containers must be triple rinsed and labels defaced. Boxes should be flattened and placed in and upright depository. 
The following items are not recyclable and must be disposed of in the garbage
  • Pyrex glassware
  • Plastic safety coated glass
  • Plastic film (e.g. wrappers, plastic bags, etc.)
  • Styrofoam
  • Bubblewrap
  • Paper towels
  • Any container previously holding acutely hazardous materials (see the “P” list)
All lab recycling collected is processed with Yale’s single stream recycling. 
If equipment or supplies are contaminated with biomedical, chemical, or radioactive substances, schedule a pick-up with the Yale Office of Environmental Health and Safety.

Writing instruments

The Yale community can recycle writing instruments through a partnership with TerraCycle, thanks to the Yale Library System. A Zero Waste Box for pens, pencils, and markers is housed at the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Library, 100 Wall Street, in the printer/copier area. TerraCycle takes hard-to-recycle items and upcycles them into new products such as backpacks and trash cans.
Acceptable instruments include
  • Pens and pen caps
  • Mechanical pencils
  • Markers and marker caps
  • Permanent markers and permanent marker caps
Unacceptable waste includes: 
  • Paint brushes
  • Colored pencils
  • Wooden pencils.

Meeting our goals

By 2024, we hope to achieve a diversion rate of 60% to align with the State of Connecticut, and maintain or reduce overall amount of waste produced annually since 2017. See how we’re doing with our efforts to achieve this goal


Reusable Shipping Totes

An informational poster to encourage the use of reusable shipping containers instead of cardboard.

Bring Your Own

This video shows just how much waste we create with disposable food containers and encourages us to provide our own reusable ones.

Recycle CT Wizard

This tool allows you to search specific items and learn whether or not they can be recycled.