As part of the 2020 Physical Facilities Sustainability Master Plan, a goal has been established for Purdue University to achieve an annual campus waste recycling rate of 50% by FY25. This means 50% of total campus waste will be reused, recycled or composted instead of being sent to the landfill.

The below resources have been compiled to help you take the small steps needed to help the Purdue community reach this giant leap.

Top Recycling Mistakes

The following items are often placed in recycling bins but are actually not recyclable.

Select a category below to learn more about why these items do not belong in recycling containers and how to dispose of them correctly. 

soft plastics
Soft Plastics

Food Waste
and Containers

papertowels,tissues & napkins
Paper Towels,
Tissues and Napkins

Know What to Throw

Use the below list as a general guide to know what to throw into mixed recycling or landfill bins on campus. If you are still unsure about an item, please send your question along with a photo and description of the item to

Mixed Recycling

  • Rigid Plastics (containers must be empty)
    • Water and soda bottles
    • Milk and water jugs
    • Nut butter jars
    • Food and condiment bottles
    • Detergent containers
  • Paper
    • Newspapers
    • Mail and magazines
    • Office paper
    • Notebook paper
  • Cardboard
    • Shipping and moving boxes (flattened)
    • Milk and juice cartons
  • Metals and Aluminum (containers must be empty)
    • Metal (tin/steel) food cans
    • Aluminum drink cans
  • Glass Containers (containers must be empty)
    • Bottles
    • Jars

Landfill Bins 

  • Food Waste and Wrappers
    • All food
    • Chip bags
    • Soiled aluminum foil
    • Greasy or soiled pizza boxes
    • Greasy or soiled paper bags
  • Single-Use Paper Products
    • Napkins
    • Paper towels
    • Tissues
    • Soiled paper plates
    • Disinfecting wipes
  • Soft Plastics and Cutlery
    • Grocery bags
    • Plastic food storage bags
    • Packing pillows
    • Bubble wrap
    • Food films and wraps
    • Plastic forks, spoons and knives
    • Plastic straws
  • Food Containers and Cups
    • Food containers
    • Hot liquid cups
    • Packaging
    • Packing peanuts
    • Plates

University Waste Resources 

The Radiological and Environmental Management (REM) department offers pick up, transport, processing and disposal services for chemicals, storage containers and other hazardous materials. Further information and request forms can be found on the REM website.
The Radiological and Environmental Management (REM) department provides a disposal service for rechargeable, lithium ion and other types of batteries. More information and forms can be found on the REM website
The University Surplus Store diverts University assets, including electronics, from the landfill through reuse, refurbishment, resale and recycling. Shop the surplus store from noon-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Departments should contact 765-496-2222 for more information.  
More information on how to request recycling containers, trash containers or confidential carts for campus buildings is available on the Grounds website.

Personal and Household Waste Resources 

Recycling and waste collection rules are specific to where you live. Information for the Greater Lafayette area can be found below.
The City of West Lafayette offers a collection site for food waste and offers countertop food waste bins to residents Monday – Friday. Unpackaged food gets composted, broken down and converted into energy for the facility.  
Clothing and other textiles cannot be processed in recycling streams. Gently used items can be donated to local charities, thrift or resale shops.  

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