Our Programs

e.Media Recycling

The Electronic Media (e.Media) Recycling Program was established in 2007 to give departments and individuals an opportunity to dispose of end-of-use electronic media, such as disks and cell phones, in a responsible way. The e.Media bins have compartments for these items as well as compartments for small printer cartridges and batteries. For the list of accepted materials and current locations of e.Media bins, see the e.Media Bins Page.

Food Waste Composting

Composting keeps organic material out of the landfill and puts it to good use. UW Recycling advocates campus composting by providing compost containers and service in most campus buildings and major outdoor areas. Our MiniMax program (see below) includes composting option for administrative buildings, and we work closely with Housing and Food Services to promote and capture compostable serviceware.

Effective January 2015, the City of Seattle’s ban on recyclables in the garbage prohibited the disposal of food and compostable paper, including food-soiled pizza boxes, paper napkins and paper towels, in the garbage.

Husky Football Recycling Outreach

Football season is an exciting time at Husky Stadium! UW Recycling, in cooperation with Intercollegiate Athletics, keeps the stadium parking lots clean and sustainable. The Green Minute and EPA’s Game Day Challenge encourage fans to recycle while we compete with other universities! If you’re a tailgater, you’ll know us for our Blue Bag Recycling Outreach program where we educate fans in the parking lots about what they can recycle while they party and hand them blue bags to collect recycling. Also, our post-game parking lot cleanup remains a vital part of keeping our games (and campus) green.


Minimize waste and maximize recycling with MiniMax—the desk-side, self-service waste collection system that’s spreading across the campus. It’s a set of bins consisting of a 28-quart recycling bin and a smaller 3-quart mini garbage bin that can hang from the side of the recycling bin. MiniMax provides the next step in campus recycling by challenging our traditional notions of waste. Much more of our waste is recyclable/compostable than trash these days. MiniMax builds awareness around this, promotes personal responsibility for waste generation, and much more!

Paper Recycling

We all try to reduce our paper use, but paper continues to account for nearly a third of our recycling on campus. And that’s just what goes into the recycling bins! Recycling paper helps support our recycling and composting programs, and it reduces our environmental footprint by saving thousands of trees each year. For more information about what paper materials are accepted and where you can recycle them, see our Paper Recycling page. In addition to paper recycling containers in buildings and around campus, UW Recycling loans out temporary mixed paper containers for staff who are doing large cleanouts of paper. For more information or to request toters for a cleanout, see the Paper Cleanout Toters Request Form.

Restroom Paper Towel Composting

In Spring 2013, Recycling & Solid Waste, in cooperation with Custodial Services, piloted a restroom paper towel composting program in Allen, Suzzallo, and Odegaard libraries. In just 11 weeks, nearly 8 tons of paper towels were diverted from the landfill. Because the pilot was so successful, restroom paper towel composting is now a standard element of the MiniMax program. This is another initiative that will help the UW reach the goal of 70% waste diversion by 2020.

Solar Kiosks

UW Recycling installed high-tech waste collection Solar Kiosks on Red Square and near the Husky Union Building. The 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 in high food waste consumption areas on campus. 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.

Special Event Recycling

Having an event on campus? Plan ahead for seamless waste collection! UW Recycling provides bins for recycling, compost and garbage to keep your campus event clean and green. We can help you in making any arrangements needed for setup, servicing, and/or storage of the bins. We are also a great resource for ensuring your event is sustainable!

Our Events

Earth Day

Each year in April, the UW community comes together to celebrate environmental and sustainability efforts on campus. Groups and departments setup booths to share their mission, educate others, and encourage people to get involved in environmental issues. UW Recycling takes an active role in Earth Day festivities on campus each year, participating on the planning committee and providing a booth that offers education, games and resources to help people navigate what’s recyclable and compostable on campus. The day’s exhibitor fair, speakers, Husky Green Awards, and solar-powered concert have become well known.

Husky Neighborhood Cleanup

Are you a student living in the North Campus neighborhood? Twice a year, UW Recycling hosts a cleanup event where you can bring your unwanted items for free disposal. Onsite collection specialists will take your reusable items/furniture, recyclables and garbage. Anything reusable will be donated to local charities. Help us keep our Husky neighborhood free of junk and garbage during move-in and move-out!


Each year beginning in February and concluding at the end of March, the University of Washington competes for national recognition in RecycleMania—a friendly tournament in which college campuses compete during the course of eight weeks to see which can reduce, reuse and recycle the most on-campus waste. Schools compete in 11 categories to see which can recycle the most paper, cardboard, cans and bottles, and food waste on a per capita basis; which can produce the least amount of waste; and which recycles the largest percentage of their overall waste stream. Updated rankings published online each Friday allow schools to track their progress and rally to improve their standings against rival colleges. Art contest ideas Materials

Recycling Roadshows

UW Recycling staff will come to your staff retreat, monthly meeting or hold a special “talking trash” session of its own to help educate students, staff and faculty. The UW’s waste stream is complicated and we get that. We are here to help make sense of it for you. The presentations can be tailored for any length of time and/or particular waste management issue. Contact us today at recycle@uw.edu to schedule a presentation.

SCRAM: Student Moveout

Our annual Student Cleanup, Recycle and Moveout (SCRAM) event captures unwanted items from approximately 5,000 departing students who live in the residence halls. The goal of SCRAM is to divert reusable goods from the landfill and donate those items, such as food, books, clothing, household items, school supplies, and toiletries, to charitable organizations. At the end of spring quarter, a donation station at each residence hall includes instructional signs and collection containers to separate items. There is also space for donating large items like furniture and home theatre equipment. Make your move out of the dorms a little easier. Don’t just cram it…SCRAM it! Watch SCRAM feature story on UWTV!

Sustainability Summit

The annual Sustainability Summit each fall celebrates the University’s leadership and accomplishments in environmental stewardship and sustainability. The Summit spans multiple days with exhibits, speakers, films and more. UW Recycling participates in the planning of the event, and has a booth during the exhibitor fair where you can learn about our impact on sustainability. We also sponsor a personal electronics recycling station where people can dispose of their unwanted electonics for free. Come celebrate with us!

UW Trash-In

Is your garbage actually garbage? On Red Square, campus volunteers suit up and sort through one day’s worth of trash, collected from several UW buildings, in search of recyclable and compostable material. The party-like atmosphere includes popular music, sorting games and challenges. The event explores how much recyclable and compostable material is still being thrown away on campus, and the data collected helps drive UW Recycling programs.