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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 it?


Mixed Recycling

Mixed recycling bins are for all paper, glass, plastic and metal.

Items include:

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

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



Composting bins are 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



Landfill bins are 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 and food soiled items in Landfill bins.





Technoscrap bins are 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



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.

NYU's Waste Diversion

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;
  • Ppairing 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:


Optical Waste Sorting


Want to learn more about waste and how it relates to are a few resources to get you started

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