Published: Nov. 13, 2019 By

Recycling limits what goes to landfills, helping curb climate change. When recyclable items are put into the correct bin, it helps ensure materials maintain a high quality for the recycling process. There are bins and posters all around campus to help make it easy. Plus, you can earn 20 PIPs every time you recycle on campus!

Here are some tips for recycling different materials on campus.

Off-campus recycling

Looking to recycle at home? Here are a few tips:

  • Review Boulder County recycling guidelines to become familiar with what materials are recyclable.
  • Separate recyclable items from your regular trash using two different bins inside your  home.
  • Do not put recycling in plastic bags; paper bags are okay.
  • Take all recyclable items to designated recycling bins or dumpsters for your residence. These are most often next to your trash bins or dumpsters. If you do not have recycling bins next to your trash, ask your landlord or property manager about recycling collections.
  •  Hard-to-recycle materials cannot go into your normal recycling bin. Electronics, styrofoam, motor oil, bike parts and many more items can be recycled at Boulder’s Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM).


Plastic bottles, tubs and jars with lids that have numbers 1–5 can be recycled on campus. The number is displayed on the item within a triangle of arrows and designates the type of plastic. When bringing plastic items to the recycle containers bin, make sure they don’t have food in them, empty all liquids and screw all caps back on. Also, make sure they are not compostable (No. 7 PLA). Compostable items should be placed in compost bins.

There are some exceptions to recycling plastic on campus:

  • No Solo cups (No. 6 PS)
  • No Styrofoam (No. 6 EPS)
  • No film plastics (No. 4LDPE, plastic bags, candy wrappers, chip bags, etc.)
  • No plastic grocery, storage or trash bags; there are places in the Boulder area that will recycle these, including most grocery stores and the Center for Hard-to-Recycle Materials


There are specific bins on campus for recycling cardboard. Flatten cardboard boxes, and remove packaging material such as tape and bubble wrap before tossing in the bin.

Here are a couple of other items you can put into cardboard recycling bins:

  • Pizza boxes: Small amounts of grease or cheese are okay to put into the recycling bin. Otherwise, it should go into the compost or landfill bins. Remove food, sauce cups and condiment packets and flatten the box before recycling.
  • Paperboard: Single-layer paperboard can be included in both cardboard and paper recycling bins. This includes cereal boxes and other single-layer cardboard packaging. The exception to this is frozen food boxes; these go into the landfill bin.


Use the paper recycling bin for these items:

  • White and pastel-colored paper. Heavily dyed and neon-colored paper are not recyclable because of the chemicals used in the dye.
  • Magazines and newspapers
  • Light-colored folders
  • Paperboard (cereal boxes)


Metal cans and bottles are infinitely recyclable! Before tossing metal items into the recycle containers bin, remove any food and liquid. Leave cans un-crushed and crumple aluminum foil into a ball (preferably 2" in diameter or larger).

Learn more about recycling on campus.