How to Run Successful University Campus Recycling Programs

How To Run A Successful College Campus Recycling Program

How To Run A Successful College Campus Recycling Program

A successful college or university campus recycling program depends upon the entire process being profitable to the remanufacturer that is organizing the recycling effort. The benefits of a good recycling program, however, are evident including removing waste from landfills as well as providing a new market for the recyclable materials to be made into new products.

Should College Campuses Collect Their Own Recycling or Outsource Pickup?

It’s an individual college campus’ decision. Many smaller campuses have the school janitors pick up their recycling for a company to collect. By producing more material to recycle, larger schools with more students and economic “footprint” may have a company organize the collecting and disposing of their materials. With larger the amounts of material gathered, a college or university will find it harder to collect all of the material for recycling.

No matter which way a college or university decides to set up a recycling program, there are several things to keep in mind that ensure that the program is successful.

Location & Accessibility

If a school’s recycling policy is to be successful, the campus must make sure that there are containers spread in places around campus where students can access and use them easily. Remember, most college students and faculty are not going out of their way to find the recycling containers. Otherwise, the recyclable material will likely be tossed right into the trash just like anything else.

It is also essential to ensure that all students and faculty can access the facility recycling containers easily. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires all facilities and amenities on campus to be equally accessible to everyone. This act includes providing a way for students or faculty that may be in a wheelchair or who use assistive mobile devices to have equal access to partake in the recycling program by being able to access any receptacles easily.

Reflecting the School’s Branding/Sustainability Initiatives

The recycling containers used across campus can include a college or university’s eco-friendly, environmentally sustainable logo; helping students tie their college or university name with the idea of being more eco-friendly and practicing appropriate recycling measures to help keep their campus recycling-friendly as possible. Most large companies that collect recycling will print the waste receptacles with your college or university’s logo for a fee. The “school pride” in associating their college or university’s name with the idea of being more eco-friendly will motivate more students to continue to recycle and help make the campaign a more fruitful and profitable venture.

Choosing the Right Recycling Bins Based on Applications

It’s also important to select the appropriately colored and sized bins for the needs your campus will have. A critical part of this is ensuring that the materials you are recycling are materials that your area recycles. Some areas recycle different materials such as paper, glass, cardboard, e-waste, etc. Provide the appropriate containers, so students and faculty are easily able to identify what goes in what receptacle.

Getting Involved in 3rd Party Programs

If you are a large college or university with a lot of recycling material it may be worth investing in a 3rd party to come in and help with your campus’ recycling process. Having them empty recycling receptacles around campus can save a lot of working hours and take a lot of work off of the school janitors. 3rd Party Programs can make sure every material is going where it need to go to get recycled appropriately.


Setting up a university campus recycling program on your campus will help ensure that you are making the most of the profits available from recyclables. By collecting and recycling as much material as possible, your campus is on its way to achieving its maximum eco-friendly impact.

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