Mixed Containers Recycling (formerly Cans & Bottles)

UW Recycling collects a wide variety of materials as part of its Mixed Containers stream.

Non-beverage container type glass must be disposed of as trash. Only beverage containers, i.e. glass bottles or glass jars can be recycled. If possible, please box up any broken shards of glass (from glassware or windows) in a box for safer handling by waste collectors.

Since July 2014, the City of Seattle’s ban on recyclables in the garbage has prohibited the disposal of recyclable plastic cups, glass and plastic bottles and jars, and aluminum and tin cans in the garbage.

What is acceptable as mixed containers

  • Plastic bottles, jars, and jugs
  • Plastic dairy tubs (yogurt, sour cream, etc.)
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Steel/tin cans
  • Aluminum cans (do not crush)
  • Aluminum Foil & Trays (clean, empty, do not crumple)
  • Milk, soy milk, and juice cartons
  • Aseptic food packages
  • Plastic cups (empty)
  • Non-compostable paper cups (clean)
  • Clean, empty chemical containers as approved by EH&S

Please put lids into the trash and empty and rinse containers before recycling them.

Note: the number in the “chasing arrows” on the bottom of many plastic food containers identifies the plastic resin content. However, the cost of collecting, sorting, and remanufacturing exceeds the value of some recycled plastic, and so many plastic items currently cannot be recycled by our vendor. To avoid confusion and contamination, ignore the numbers and remember only plastic bottles, jars, jugs, cups, and dairy tubs are permitted.

What is not acceptable as mixed containers

Where to recycle your mixed containers on campus


Classroom/Conference Room Bins

UW Recycling is in the process of placing bins throughout classrooms and conference rooms on campus. The waste bin is typically placed in a room as part of a set, which also includes bins for mixed containers and mixed paper. The classroom/conference room bins are serviced by Custodial Services.

Public Area Bins

In public areas of campus buildings, there are red metal Waste Public Area Bins. The old style bins are varying heights and the new style bins are the same height. Public Area Bins are serviced by Custodial Services. Note: at this time, UW Recycling has no additional inventory of either the old style or new style Public Area Bins.

Smart Cans, Top View

Solar Kiosks

Located on Red Square and outside the Husky Union Building, these outdoor kiosks consist of three containers for sorting waste—composting, recycling and garbage. Powered sustainably by the sun, the kiosks contain technology to help maximize and monitor waste collection, and the garbage container also has an automated compactor that increases the amount of garbage space by roughly 500% over the previous cans. This is the first public area compost collection at UW, and it’s the first program of its kind nationwide. Solar Kiosks are serviced by UW Recycling.

Smart Cans

Smart Cans are outdoor combined litter/recycling receptacles. The top portion of the container is for cans & bottles and the bottom portion is for garbage. Smart Cans are serviced by UW Recycling.


At building loading docks, there are blue dumpsters or toters labeled for “cans and bottles”. All mixed containers collected by Custodial from within a building are consolidated into these containers. The toters and dumpsters are serviced by UW Recycling.

Special Events

UW Recycling provides waste and recycling bins for special events on the Seattle campus. For more information and to request containers, fill out the Special Event Bins Request Form.


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