Recycling and Waste

RIT is working hard to reduce the amount of waste generated on campus. The first step is to practice the 6 Rs: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Repurpose, Recycle.

Mixed Recycling

A key component of RIT’s recycling efforts is our mixed recycling program. Mixed recycling means that that plastic, glass, metal, paper and cardboard recyclables can be put in the same recycling container. All items that are put in the recycling bins should be empty and clean.

Paper & Cardboard

  • Gable Top (Milk and Juice) Cartons and Drink/Soup Boxes: remove and throw away plastic straws; reattach caps for recycling.
  • Newspapers, Magazines, Catalogs, etc.
  • Home Office Paper, Files, School Papers, etc.: shredded paper in brown paper bags only.
  • Junk Mail, Advertisements and Brochures
  • All Envelopes: window envelopes too!
  • Corrugated Cardboard: flattened, (no waxed cardboard)
  • Phone Directories and Soft-cover Books
  • Paper Boxes—cereal, cracker, soda, tissue, shoe, gift, toy, etc.: flatten box and recycle any plastic liners at grocery store with other plastic bags.
  • Pizza Boxes & Paper Egg Cartons: discard all contents and flatten.

Plastic Containers

  • Bottles: beverage, soap, squeeze bottles, and spray bottles (reattach caps, pumps, and lids)
  • Jugs: milk, laundry detergent, etc. (reattach caps)
  • Jars: peanut butter, mayonnaise, sauce, etc. (reattach lids)
  • Tubs: dairy products like sour cream, margarine, yogurt etc. (reattach lids)
  • NO plastic bags, foam egg cartons, single-use plastics (coffee pods, straws, utensils, cups) or prescription bottles


  • Glass Food and Beverage Bottles, Jugs and Jars: reattach and recycle lids and caps.
  • No drinking glasses, window glass, pyrex, light bulbs, etc.


  • Metal Food and Beverage Cans: lids are accepted.
  • License Plates: defaced
  • Metal Pots, Pans and Aluminum Foil/Foilware
  • EMPTY Aerosol Cans: with caps. NO pesticides or spray paints (contact EHS for disposal instructions for these items).

The following items cannot be put in single-stream Recycling bins:

  • Plastic bags (there is a plastic bag recycling bin located in the global village post office)
  • Foam (i.e. Styrofoam©)
  • Food or liquid waste
  • Propane tanks (contact EHS for disposal instructions)
  • Cord/Hoses/Ropes
  • Prescription bottles
  • Electronics (see electronics recycling section below)
  • Sharps/Syringes (contact EHS for disposal instructions)
  • Clothing (can be donated to Bern’s Closet, Goodbye Goodbuy!, or a local thrift store)

For more information review the Frequently Asked Questions.

Need signs for your room or office? Download them here:

Recycling graphic


Landfill graphic



Electronics that you no longer need or want should always be recycled and never be thrown away as they may contain heavy metals and other hazardous materials.

small electronics recycling sign

All ink and toner cartridges from printers, copiers, and fax machines as well as cell phones, cameras, tablets, cords, keyboards, and other small peripherals can be put in the cardboard bins found throughout campus labeled “Small Electronics Recycling.” Personal information should be wiped from devices before placing them in the bins.

Empty my bin

SEAL (Student Environmental Action League), in partnership with FMS and E-Waste+, holds an E-waste recycling event during Earth Week (third week in April) every year. Be on the lookout for RIT Message Center emails announcing the days and times of these events. During move out, students can also donate electronics to Goodbye, Goodbuy!

Learn about SEAL

Learn about Goodbye, Goodbuy!

Non-rechargeable batteries (Hearing Aid, Alkaline, AAA, C, D) and rechargeable batteries (Rechargeable Hearing Aids, Lead Acid, Nickel-Oxide, Lithium Ion) can be recycled in the small white buckets located in the Wallace Library on the first floor at the circulation desk or at Residence Life Desk in Kate Gleason Hall.

Signage for Small Electronic Waste


Zero-Waste Arena

Zero-Waste Arena is a partnership between RIT Sustainability and Gene Polisseni Center to bring the arena to zero-waste during RIT Men's Hockey games held at Gene Polisseni Center. All waste will be sorted into the correct stream by an employee for your convenience. 

Zero-waste is the principle of minimizing waste production as much as possible, then composting, reusing, or recycling any other waste generated. This program is accompanying the reintroduction of composting during games and aims to ensure maximum diversion of recyclables and compost at Men's Hockey games.

A Zero-Waste initiative was first piloted at Gene Polisseni Center in 2015, but was paused due to a variety of factors such as high contamination rates, and a lack of composting vendors in our region.  We are excited to pilot a new system where employees sort the waste to reduce contamination. A new post-consumer food waste composting vendor has been identified to assist with this initiative. 

Just deposit all of your waste in a bin at one of the many stations situated on the perimeter of the rink and our green team will sort it for you. That’s it! Sustainability without the hassle.

After careful consideration, it was determined that RIT Men's Hockey games should be used to pilot this initiative this season, to ensure the greatest impact and best use of limited student staff time. If this program is deemed successful, we hope to expand it to other initiatives including Women's Hockey games and large-scale events held at Gene Polisseni Center.

Explain the system to your friends and spread awareness about the value of systems like these in a world that produces so much waste. Interested in more in-depth involvement? Reach out to or to discuss the possibility of employment with the green team or other ways to help.

The method of sorting post-consumer waste is expected to minimize the contamination of our waste streams, ensuring that everything compostable and recyclable reaches its intended destination. This is what makes this system “zero-waste”. It does not refer to the amount of waste directly produced but ensures that nothing that can be recovered, reused, or recycled is lost to the landfill.

Other Information

FoodShare sign

Excess Food and Food Waste

RIT Dining Services participates in programs to reduce waste and divert food scraps from the landfill, and the RIT FoodShare program works to put excess food in the hands of those who need it.

Learn More

Water bottle

Bottle Return

In addition to the mixed recycling bins on campus, RIT Dining Services operates an on-campus bottle return location to allow students to easily recycle their beverage bottles and receive their 5 cents deposit back.

Hours and location

Various wood chairs


Procurement Services offers guidance on what to do with excess or obsolete RIT-owned furniture. Student furniture from apartments and residence halls can be donated to Goodbye, Goodbuy! during spring move out.

Contact Procurement Services

goodbye goodbuy

Goodbye, Goodbuy!

Goodbye, Goodbuy! is a student-led reuse program that focuses on usable goods discarded during move out. Every year, hundreds of volunteers help collect, sort, and sell donated items.

Since the beginning of the program, over 100 tons of usable items have been prevented from sitting in landfills.

Learn More

plastic bags

Plastic Bags

Despite the common presence of a recycling symbol on plastic bags, these bags and similar plastic materials like "air pillows" used in packages have to be recycled separately from other recyclables because plastic bags can tangle and jam sorting machines used in recycling sorting facilities. The post office at Global Village is the only place on campus to recycle these items.


Waste Audits

We can always use more data on the composition of our waste streams! From these audits, the sustainability department can provide recommendations for how to reduce waste sent to the landfill.

Request a Waste Audit


Any questions?

Do you have questions about an item or material that isn’t on this list? Do you want to know more about recycling?