Recycling and Composting Guide

  Where to Throw video

Batteries are collected by Environment, Health & Safety. Please call them at 763-4568 to request a collection bucket for your office or building. Students living on campus should check with your residence hall’s Community Center for disposal information.

Bottle caps can be recycled through Cap-Ture. Plastic and metal caps can be sent via campus mail to:

Cap-Ture
109 E Madison St
Campus Zip 2993

No flat plastic lids, lotion pumps or spray pumps. Open to the Ann Arbor campus only.

If you have surplus campus mail envelopes for pick-up or would like to request used envelopes, please fill out our Campus Envelope Reuse Request form.

Cardboard boxes, clean pizza boxes, boxboard and paperboard can be recycled in any recycling bin on campus. No wax-coated cardboard (like produce boxes) or hardcover books.

Compostable “plastic” cups and utensils can be identified by reading “compostable” on the item. Compostable plates and bowls have no sheen, are usually rougher than regular paper plates and some are marked “compostable” on the bottom. If no compost bin is available, they must be landfilled.

Shredded paper should be bagged and placed in a recycling dumpster. If you are looking for a company to shred items for you, please see Procurement Services.

CDs, DVDs, plastic jewel cases, 3.5″ and 5″ floppy disks, audio and video cassettes, film reels, slides, and vinyl records can be recycled. Download flyer

If you have a small number to recycle, send them via campus mail to:

Waste Management Services
1655 Dean Rd. – 2159

For large amounts, email recycle@umich.edu to arrange a pick-up.

All university-purchased electronics, both broken and working, must go to Property Disposition. This includes items such as computers, monitors, TVs, cell phones, pagers and anything with a circuit board (this includes all items with a digital display).

Students in residence halls should take any broken electronics containing circuit boards to the designated area at their hall’s loading dock.

Only clean, dry, white, rigid, non-food service, #6 polystyrene can be recycled. It must be bagged separately and placed on the loading dock, not in the recycling dumpster. All other foam must be placed in the landfill bin. Download our foam recycling flyer.

Where compost bins are available, all food items (including meat and dairy) can be composted. Otherwise, put food in the landfill bin.

Glass is not accepted for recycling at U-M. Reuse your glass (glass jars are easily cleaned and quite useful!) or place it in the landfill bin. 

Contact recycle@umich.edu to learn how to recycle hardcover books. Do not place them in the recycling bins.

Our office works with Mikan Corporation, U-M’s strategic supplier for remanufactured cartridges, to recycle these items. Please contact them at salesinfo@mikancorp.com. Place toner and inkjet cartridges back in their original packaging and accumulate in a cardboard box. If you are a current Mikan customer, they will pick up your used cartridges when they make a delivery. If you are not a customer, please contact them when you have collected 10 or more cartridges for a free pickup.  Mikan has suspended pickup-only services temporarily during the pandemic. 

Xerox products are not accepted by Mikan. If your department has a Xerox managed multi-function device, contact Xerox for recycling info.

Toner tubes are not accepted for recycling.

Milk cartons and juice boxes can be recycled in any recycling bin on campus. This includes aseptic boxes, Tetra-Paks and non-dairy milk cartons.

Small metal items can be placed in any recycling bin on campus. This includes cans, empty aerosol cans, metal pots, bakeware and office supplies. Large amounts of metal (e.g. shelving units, furniture, etc.) can be placed on the loading dock for collection. Have more than can fit on a dock? Request a roll off dumpster.

Save your items for our office supply reuse event each summer. They’ll be donated to other U-M departments and local nonprofits, benefiting those organizations while keeping the office supplies out of the landfill.

Toothbrushes and outer packaging, caps and cartons, floss containers, and toothpaste tubes are accepted in this recycling program.

To recycle, set up your own collection box with this printable oral care recycling sign. Once full, email recycle@umich.edu to request a pre-paid shipping label. All shipments must be a minimum of 2 lbs.

All excess product must be removed. If the item has been rinsed, it must be completely dry prior to shipping. Electric toothbrushes, battery toothbrushes and/or their parts are not accepted.

For each shipment received, TerraCycle will donate $0.01 to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

Most types of paper can be recycled in any recycling bin on campus. Do not place tissues, napkins, paper towels or paper coffee cups into the recycling bins. All napkins and paper towels, however, can be composted unless they are contaminated with bodily fluids or toxic cleaners.

Pipet tip boxes can be recycled. Email sustainable-labs@umich.edu for a new or replacement collection box, which will be delivered to your building’s loading dock. 

Place decontaminated #5 plastic boxes and inserts in the box. When full, call UPS or place in pickup location on dock for free pickup. 

You can use this pipet tip box recycling flyer to promote the program in your lab.

All plastic cups, bowls, tubs and bulky molded items (e.g. milk crates) can be placed in any recycling bin on campus. Do not place plastic bags, foam, cutlery, plates, caps or compostables in the recycling bins.

Tea bags are compostable (even if they have a staple), but landfill the package the tea bag comes in.

Pallets and untreated scrap wood (crating, lumber) are collected from loading docks for reuse or recycling. Pile the wood neatly on the loading dock and do not block the dumpsters. This service is only available to the Ann Arbor campus.

Pens, mechanical pencils, markers and highlighters are all recyclable through Recycle Write! Set up a collection bin with a Recycle Write! flyer in your workplace. Send items via campus mail to:

Recycle Write
109 E Madison St
Campus Zip 2993

Don’t see your item above? Check out our complete A-Z list of Recyclable, Compostable, and Landfill Items at U-M.