Minimizing Waste Across Campus

One of Ohio State's most ambitious goals is to achieve zero waste by 2025 by diverting 90% of waste away from landfills. Campus diversion rate performance will be significantly impacted by educating students, faculty and staff and providing ample opportunities to recycle, prevent and minimize waste.

Contact for more information.


Icon of plastic bag

Plastic bags

Plastic bags get caught in the recycling facility sorting equipment, causing expensive time delays and fixes. Recycle plastic bags at your local grocery store.

Icon of paper

Napkins, paper towels, tissues

Napkins, paper towels, tissues, etc., cannot be recycled. Often, these items can be composted, but if compost bins are unavailable, please discard them into the trash.

Icon of plastic jug

Plastic Cups, Jugs, Tubs, Bottles

Recycle cups, jugs, bottle-shaped plastic and tubs including jello, fruit, butter, cottage cheese, sour cream, etc.

Icon of poster

Recycling Poster

Download the recycling poster to print and display in your office or building.

Download Here

What Can I Recycle?


  • Plastic bottles and jugs
  • Plastic cups (fountain drink cups - no Solo cups)
  • Beverage bottles
  • Laundry detergent bottles
  • Milk jugs
  • Shampoo bottles
  • Contact solution bottles
  • Plastic tubs
  • Yogurt containers
  • Sour cream tubs
  • Butter tubs
  • Jello containers
  • Cottage cheese tubs
  • Whipped topping
  • Specialty dips (salsa, guacamole, French onion)
  • Fruit cups
  • Please reattach lids!
  • Anything contaminated with food, grease, oils
  • Plastic bags (recycle at your local grocery store)
  • Plastic knives, forks, spoons
  • Candy wrappers
  • Straws
  • Shrink/bubble wrap
  • Foil juice pouches
  • Styrofoam
  • Packing peanuts (Styrofoam)
  • To-go food containers (Styrofoam, plastic fruit clamshells)
  • Potato chip bags



  • Bottles (any color)
  • Jars (any color)
  • Non-heat resistant laboratory glassware (see Specialty Recycling)
  • Heat resistant glass (see Specialty Recycling)
  • Bio-contaminated or infectious glass (see Specialty Recycling)
  • Any chemically contaminated glass (see Specialty Recycling)
  • Light bulbs
  • Window glass
  • Drinking glasses
  • Mirror glass
  • Ceramics/Pottery
  • Broken glass


Paper & Cardboard

  • Any corrugated cardboard boxes (flattened)
  • Paperboard packaging, beverage boxes, cereal boxes
  • Paper packing material
  • Aseptic cartons (soy milk, orange juice cartons)
  • Pizza boxes (unsoiled)
  • Paper cups (fountain drink cups, coffee cups)
  • Office paper
  • Printer paper
  • Junk mail
  • Magazines
  • Phone books
  • Soft cover books (see Specialty Recycling for hardcover books)
  • Newspapers
  • Post-it notes
  • Manila folders
  • Brown paper bags
  • * In the Wexner Medical Center, help us protect patient privacy by placing all paper documents in shredding bins. Documents placed in the shredding bin cannot be removed and will be destroyed. 
  • Anything contaminated with food, grease, oils
  • Tissues
  • Paper towels
  • Napkins
  • Coffee cups (recycle cardboard sleeve)
  • Food wraps
  • Paper plates



  • Aluminum cans
  • Tin/Steel cans (rinsed)
  • Aerosol cans (see Specialty Recycling for details)
  • Anything contaminated with food, grease, oils




Ink/Toner Cartridges

As part of the Stores Toner Recycling Program, schedule a pickup of empty toner cartridges with Central Receiving (614-292-2694) or online at:


For university electronics, such as computers and cell phones, contact OSU SURPLUS (614-688-3545).


Recycle batteries through Environmental Health and Safety. Start a program in your office by placing a box or 5 gallon bucket in a common area with a sign for batteries. When full, contact EHS to schedule a collection (614-292-1284).


Many materials that laboratories submit as chemical waste are actually surplus chemicals that may be reused. To assist in waste reduction, the Environmental Health and Safety Chemical Management Program accepts both opened and unopened containers of unwanted, usable chemicals from laboratory and service areas throughout campus. The Chemical Management Program takes the unwanted chemicals and redistributes them, free of charge, to other Ohio State operations. Chemicals can be requested by registering at the EHS website. Contact EHS (614-292-1284) for additional information.


If you have university assets that need disposal, please work with your asset manager to release the items to Surplus. For additional questions, contact Surplus (614-688-3545).

Heat Resistant Glass

Heat resistant glass is not recyclable at this time. Please dispose of these materials in the trash. Broken heat resistant glass should be bagged, placed in a cardboard box, and disposed of in a trash dumpster.

Infectious or Bio-Contaminated Glass

All infectious or bio-contaminated glass must be placed into an infectious waste box or sharps box. These materials are managed by Environmental Health and Safety (614-292-1284).

Chemically Contaminated Glass

All chemically contaminated glass must be placed into the blue sealable chemical barrels. These materials are managed by Environmental Health and Safety (614-292-1284).

Aerosol Containers

Must be empty, depressurized, and cannot have contained hazardous materials. Do not empty old containers. Contact Environmental Health and Safety to arrange for proper disposal (614-292-1284).

Metals of Value or of University Property

Must be disposed of through appropriate Ohio State policies and procedures. Contact the Solid Waste Shop (614-292-3974) for arrangements.

Non-Heat Resistant Laboratory Glassware

Must be triple-rinsed. Note that any rinsate becomes hazardous waste. These materials are managed by Environmental Health and Safety (614-292-1284).


Frequently Asked Questions 

Why recycle?

There are many important reasons to minimize, reduce, and recycle materials at Ohio State.

  • Recycling conserves scarce natural resources such as oil, water, minerals, and trees.  

  • Recycling helps reduce water and air pollution. 
  • Recycling conserves energy as it takes less energy to make new products from recycled materials compared to using virgin materials.
  • Recycling reduces harmful greenhouse gas emissions by decreasing the amount of trash dumped in landfills and the amount of methane emitted to the atmosphere.
  • Recycling is an easy and efficient way to participate in the university's sustainability initiatives.
How can I recycle at Ohio State?

Recycling at Ohio State is single stream (also referred to as co-mingled), meaning all recyclables are placed in the same bin instead of being separated. However, trash still needs to be placed in a different container. Many side-by-side trash and recycling containers have been placed around campus in common areas and classrooms. 


Do you provide document destruction services?

We do not have certification to provide document destruction services. For a list of all certified shredding providers that meet the university's PCI requirements, please contact the Office of Financial Services at 614-292-7792.

Where can I recycle books?

Donations are accepted at University Libraries Tech Center. Learn more about book donations.

Where can I recycle ink cartridges?

Contact OSU STORES at 614-292-2694 to arrange recycling or fill out the online form. You can also recycle cartridges through Earth911.

Where can I recycle electronics?

For electronics such as computer parts contact OSU SURPLUS at 614-688-3545

How do I recycle batteries?

Contact Environmental Health and Safety at 614-292-1284

How do I request additional recycling containers for student move in and move out?

Contact Service2Facilities at 614-292-HELP if you need any additional recycling containers.

How does the Wexner Medical Center recycle?

Red recycling bins can accept cardboard, paper cups, glass, aluminum, and bottle-shaped plastics. 

Help us protect patient privacy by placing all paper documents in shredding bins. Documents placed in the shredding bin cannot be removed and will be destroyed. 


Where can I learn more about recycling in Columbus?

Learn more by visiting the City of Columbus.

How can I order indoor recycling/trash can sets or replacement panels for my building?

Login to Workday, then click ‘Request Travel or Purchase’ from the Applications menu. On the Request Travel or Purchase page, select ‘Request to procure goods and/or services.’ On the Create Requisition page, select ‘Buckeye Buy Request’ under Requisition Type. Update any other necessary fields on this page, then click OK. On the next screen, click ‘Connect to Supplier Website.’ On the Connect to Supplier Website page, click ‘Connect.’ On the next step, you may need to click in the center of the screen to minimize a pop-up menu to see the Procure page fully unobstructed.   

  • If you are ordering an indoor recycling and trash can set, enter ‘CONTAINER, TRASH & RECYCLING, SIDE BY SIDE, 30 GAL, WITH LID’ in the search box next to Item Search, then hit the ‘Enter’ key on your keyboard. Enter the desired quantity then click ‘Add to Cart.’ Note: This is only for the bare frame. You will also need to add panels to complete this set. If your building is part of the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, enter ‘51010M’ in the search box next to Item Search, then hit the Enter key on your keyboard. If your building is not part of the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, enter ‘51010A’ in the search box next to Item Search, then hit the Enter key on your keyboard. Enter the desired quantity then click ‘Add to Cart.’
  • If you only need to order replacement panels for an indoor ErgoCan recycling or trash bin, enter ‘51010M’ in the search box next to Item Search for any building that is part of the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, or enter ‘51010A’ for all other buildings on campus, then hit the Enter key on your keyboard. Enter the desired quantity then click ‘Add to Cart.’

After all desired items have been added to the cart, click the shopping cart icon at the upper right hand side of the screen, review the items and quantities in your cart, then click “Submit.”