WHEN IN DOUBT, RECYCLE!

Our system is really good and it can handle it if you recycle something that you’re not 100% sure is recyclable. SO if you have any doubt, RECYCLE and we’ll deal with it! Almost everything is recyclable at Dartmouth! You don’t have to separate most recyclables, they can all go into one bin, comingled. Hurrah! Plastics 1-7, aluminum, glass and glass can go into ANY recycling bin on campus. Batteries, light bulbs, electronics, books, furniture and appliances are treated differently. Click on these items to find out how. Hover over the slide to pause the show.

“Wait one minute here…. How do I REALLY know it’s being recycled?”

We followed it and found out. Literally. Members of our team followed an aluminum can all the way through the recycling process. Our skepticism was relieved by actually seeing the process. While our waste stream definitely has real impacts, we were impressed with the system and with the outputs: Each type of recycling is packed into tight blocks and resold as feedstock for some other product, material or process. It’s not perfect but it’s better than our plastics, glass and paper going to a landfill. At the same time, we are working to improve the system and reduce the waste in it.

Where does it go? Our recycling goes via truck to the Casella/Northeast Waste facility in Rutland VT or in Charlestown MA. There our recyclables are sorted via a combination of hand and mechanized sorting. Casella has a promotional video that explains the process. About 88% of what we put in the recycling bin is actually recycled in the end because, inevitably, some nonrecycable items make it into the bin.

What is our recycling made into?
Plastics 1-2 are made into new plastics (2 and 3), carpets and fabrics.


Plastics 3-7 are sold as commodities. They are often made into durable rigid plastics like park benches, house siding etc. 


Glass is made into paving materials.

Metals become new metal. (Our aluminum goes to Anheuser Busch to become the tops and bottoms of new cans.)
Paper becomes new paper (toilet paper, newspaper, paperboard etc.).

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask Dartmouth.Recycles@Dartmouth.EDU

Download a pdf of what can and can’t be recycled from Casella

All types of cardboard can be recycled, except waxed cardboard! Cereal boxes, pizza boxes, detergent boxes, cracker boxes etc. can all be recycled. Please break them down flat and place them in or next to your recycle bins.

Corrugated cardboard should also be broken down flat and placed alongside recycling bins.

Waxed cardboard cannot be recycled so please send it to landfill.

Plastics #1-7 can be recycled at Dartmouth. There are two categories of plastics that shouldn’t be recycled BUT if you’re unsure, don’t worry, just recycle it and we’ll deal with it at the other end! It WILL NOT mean that we throw away a whole load of recycling!.

Please do not recycle:

Flexible plastics like plastic wrap, plastic bags (even if they say they can be!), plastic sheeting, plastic gloves, and plastic straws.

Bio plastics that are labeled as plant-based, corn-based or compostable. These should be composted or sent to the landfill.

If there is food or drink in a plastic container, dump liquid into a sink, shake food out over a compost bin or trash can, and recycle! A little contamination is OK, don’t worry!

What about the bottle tops? It doesn’t matter. If you leave the tops on, the sorting system (which melts down the plastic) sorts the tops out. If you take them off, great!

All bottle and jar glass can be recycled at Dartmouth! Clear and colored glass can be recycled.

What about the bottle tops, you ask? It doesn’t matter. If you leave the tops on, the sorting system (which crushes the glass) sorts the tops out. If you take them off, great!

Broken glass, pane glass and plate should not be recycled, it should be wrapped carefully in cardboard, taped shut and discarded in landfill trash to avoid hurting our Recycling Team. Call Dartmouth Recycles if you need help!

If there is food or drink in glass bottles, dump liquid into a sink, shake food out over a trash can or compost bin and recycle it! A little contamination is OK! Don’t worry!

Computers and other electronics at Dartmouth are recycled by WinCycle. If you have electronics that need recycling, call or email Procurement Services (646-2811) for a pickup. If you have small electronics items like a keyboard, these can be left next to recycling bins and custodians will ensure they are recycled.

All paper at Dartmouth can be recycled! Colored paper, magazines, brown paper. Those little envelope windows? Don’t worry! Recycle them and the system strains out the plastic! A few staples? No stress, recycle it! The staples will get sorted out in the paper processing.

We accept ALL paper including paper cups, paper bags, magazines, soft cover books, glossy paper, colored paper, brown paper, paper towels, envelopes, sticky notes, card stock, folders etc.

WAXED paper cannot be recycled but if you’re in doubt, recycle it and we’ll sort it out on our end.

If there is food or drink in paper cups, dump liquid into a sink, shake food out over a compost bin or trash can and recycle! A little contamination is OK, don’t worry!

Batteries need special care. Every building or cluster of buildings should have a clearly marked battery bin for collecting spent batteries of all sizes. Email Dartmouth.Recycles@Dartmouth.EDU to find out the locations if you can’t find yours.

All aluminum, steel and tin can be recycled in the Zero Sort system. Soda cans, tin cans, steel cans all go into the recycling bin.

What can't you recycle at Dartmouth?
Throw these items TRASH containers:

  • Flexible plastics like plastic wrap, plastic bags, plastic gloves
  • Styrofoam (EVEN IF it has a recycle logo on the bottom) cups, packing materials and peanuts, takeout containers etc.
  • Waxed cardboard
  • Things FULL of food (but a little residue it ok!)
  • Biodegradeable plastics, unless you can compost at a Dartmouth compost location.

Call the Dartmouth Custodians (646-2050) for help with these items:

  • Hazardous materials like oil, paint etc. and their containers.

Rehome, reuse or call Dartmouth Custodians (646-2050) for these items:

  • Household goods like pots and pans.

What about other stuff? Many items cannot be recycled but they can be resold, reused or repurposed.  We encourage you  to start by selling items on Dartlist.com or donating to the Listen Center and the Upper Valley Haven. You can also donate items to the Sustainable Moving Sale to be resold to Dartmouth students. These contacts are listed below.

Household goods: Household goods like pots and pans, tableware, ironing boards etc. cannot be recycled. Resell, regift, reuse or donate! Both Listen and the Haven accept these.

Furniture: Dartmouth furniture should be returned to Procurement. Another option is to trade it on Dartlist. See “Office to Office.” We don’t have a great system for used furniture at Dartmouth but contact us if you have an idea!

Personal furniture can be sold or donated to one of the places listed below!

Books: Books, even hard cover books, CAN be recycled at Dartmouth. Put them in the bins or for more than one or two, email Dartmouth.Recyles@dartmouth.edu for pickup.