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About NYU's Waste


NYU’s commitment to waste minimization goes back decades. New York City passed the first of its many recycling laws in 1989, and in 1990, NYU established its Recycling Program, which has since become a model for institutionalized recycling in New York City. The Recycling Program was the impetus for a university-wide sustainability initiative.

Where do I put this?


Mixed Recycling

for all paper, glass, plastic and metal.

Items include:

  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Paper
  • Clean cardboard boxes
  • Food & drink cartons
  • Soda cans
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic bottles
  • Glass bottles & jars

All food & liquids should be emptied into composting bins (if available) or landfill bins before placing item in recycling.



for all food products and food soiled items.

Items include:

  • All food including fish, meat and cheese
  • Used paper plates and napkins
  • Pizza boxes and paper take out containers
  • Compostable cups and utensils
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Tea bags



for all items that cannot go into Mixed Recycling, Composting or Technoscrap bins.

Items include:

  • Styrofoam

If composting bins are not available dispose of food waste & food soiled items in Landfill bins.





for tech and industrial items.

Items include:

  • Ink and toner cartridges
  • Batteries
  • Jewel cases
  • CDs and DVDs
  • All types of cables and wires
  • Cameras
  • Cell Phones


NYU's Waste Diversion


On average NYU generates about 350 tons of solid waste and 140 tons of recycling per month. About 60% of NYU’s landfilled waste is compostable, while 28% of it is recyclable material. We have the potential to reduce landfilled waste to only 7% of our total. Emissions of carbon dioxide and methane emissions associated with the landfilling and incineration of NYU’s municipal solid waste stream currently accounts for 1.9% of NYU’s direct greenhouse gas emissions.

Waste reduction measures across campus have included:

  • Food waste composting program in dining facilities coupled with trayless dining;
  • Removal of bottled water from student meal plans;
  • Expansion of collection stations for recycling;
  • Pairing landfill with recycling bins;
  • Identifying source reduction opportunities;
  • And educating the community.

How is our mixed recycling system possible?

Take an inside look at Action Carting’s Optical Sorting System here.