Since January 2005, the City of Seattle’s ban on recyclables in the garbage has prohibited the disposal of recyclable paper and cardboard in the garbage. This ordinance applies to clean material only; food-soiled or otherwise contaminated paper and cardboard are not permitted. Note: food-soiled paper and cardboard can be composted.
In 2008, UW Recycling transitioned to a new collection system for recyclable paper. Sorting of paper by grade (white, newspaper, and mixed) is no longer required on campus and all paper is collected as a mixed paper stream in new mixed paper bagits. You can print out a No Sorting Required poster and post it at your bagit station. These green bagits are emptied by Custodial Services into large mixed paper toters at each building’s loading dock. The toters are serviced with a compacting collection truck at the loading dock by UW Recycling collection staff and then transported to a sorting facility in South Seattle.
What is acceptable as paper
- All mixed paper
- White paper
- Newspaper and newsprint
- Colored paper
- Sticky notes
- Softbound books and journals
- File folders
- Hanging file folders
- Box board and tablet backs
- Card stock
- Small pieces of flattened cardboard
Staples, small paper clips, and small amounts of tape are permitted. Remove all large paper and binder clips. Remove all spiral and other types of bindings when possible. To recycle boxes and other large pieces of cardboard, see the procedures for cardboard boxes.
What is not acceptable as paper
- Confidential paper
- Food-soiled paper and cardboard
- Label backing sheets
- Styrofoam blocks
- Styrofoam and packing peanuts
- Computer disks, DVDs, CDs
- Cartridges for copiers and printers
- Three-ring binders
- Hardbound books
- Bubble wrap, shrink wrap, air pillows
- Paper with plastic coating (to test for plastic coating, tear the item; plastic film is usually visible along the tear)
Where to recycle your paper on campus
Self-Service Recycle Bins
These small boxes fit underneath or next to a desk. Staff on campus are responsible for emptying their paper directly into a mixed paper bagit or mixed paper toter. To request a Self-Service Recycle Bin, fill out the Self-Service Recycle Bin Request Form.
In most shared office/lab space on campus, recyclable paper is collected in bagits, which are reusable polypropylene bags that have handles and are held open on stands, which hold either one or two bagits. Bagits are not permitted in individual offices. Do not use bagits for a cleanout; they are for the daily, small amounts of recyclable paper that staff generate. Please observe the 35 pound weight limit. Bagits are serviced by Custodial Services. For more information or to set up a new bagit station, see the Bagit Station Request Form page.
Temporary Paper Cleanout Toters for Large Cleanouts
UW Recycling loans out mixed paper toters to staff who are doing large cleanouts of paper. These toters are labeled “RESERVED” to distinguish them from the permanent mixed paper toters used by Custodial for regular servicing of your building. Do not use bagits or your building’s permanent mixed paper toters for a cleanout. For more information or to request toters for a cleanout, see the Paper Cleanout Toters Request Form.
Classroom/Conference Room Bins
UW Recycling is in the process of placing bins throughout classrooms and conference rooms on campus. The mixed paper bin is typically placed in a room as part of a set, which also includes bins for cans & bottles and waste. The classroom/conference room bins are serviced by Custodial Services.
Public Area Bins
In public areas of campus buildings, there are green metal Mixed Paper 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.
Mixed Paper Toters (Permanent)
At loading docks and within certain buildings, there are green toters labeled for “mixed paper only”. All paper collected by Custodial Services from within a building is consolidated into these containers. Do not use your building’s permanent mixed paper toters for a cleanout; they are for Custodial Staff to use during regular servicing of the building. However, staff are permitted to empty their Personal Recycle Bins into these toters. The toters are serviced by UW Recycling.
UW Recycling provides mixed paper containers for special events on the Seattle campus. For more information and to request containers, fill out the Special Event Bins Request Form.