What Can Be Recycled On Campus



What materials can be recycled through the single-stream program at Notre Dame?

Image of recyclable materials being directed to the appropriate waste bins.

As of summer 2023, the types of accepted recyclable materials have expanded for greater waste diversion opportunities. Use the A-Z Directory above for the most current and comprehensive information. In general:

  • Paper: clean paper including newsprint, envelopes, copy paper, Post-It notes, paperboard, padded mailers (no plastic), and magazines.
  • Rigid Plastic: rigid plastics 1#-#7, including bottles, cups, jugs and containers, and toiletry bottles.
  • Metal & Glass: clean aluminum foil and food tins; aluminum, tin, and steel cans and containers; empty aerosol container; clear and colored glass bottles (please no broken mirrors or ceramics).
  • Cardboard: flattened and empty (no wax coating or styrofoam, please). This will be collected in a designated cardboard recycling cart in your building. If you have an abundance of cardboard, please submit a work request order to schedule a pick-up. We ask that you refrain from placing cardboard in the blue toter, as it fills the toter up too quickly and does not allow enough room for the collection of other recyclables

Everything else (especially plastic bags and plastic packaging) belongs in the trash.

For specialty recycling, refer to the waste wizard above.  Additional off-campus recycling information can be found here.

For one-time pick-up requests of recyclable materials, please have your department administrator submit an AiM work order.

Do you have comments about the current recycling program? Submit feedback about the recycling expansion changes.

Recycling Sign

Click here for a printable version: Recycling Signage.

Game Day Recycling

Recycling for football Game Days in the tailgating lots and the stadium have different bins, but accept the same materials as our campus toters. Be sure to familiarize yourself with Game Day processes and receptacles.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does recycling work at Notre Dame?

  • Each individual on campus is responsible for tipping their personal dorm or office bin into a centrally located recycling toter. Each Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, custodial staff roll full toters out to the curb to be picked up by Recycling Works.
  • If you can't find a recycling toter in your building or need to request one, check out our "Where and How to Recycle" page for more information.

What can I recycle?

  • Check the A-Z Directory listed above. The types of acceptable materials have expanded to increase waste diversion opportunities.
  • Items that are recyclable at Notre Dame may vary from other systems. Every sorting facility is a little different and the demand for certain materials depends on where you live/work.

What happens after my recyclables are placed in the toter?

  • Watch this video from our recycling servicer, Recycling Works, to learn more about what happens to the materials after they are picked up. 

Why can't I recycle soft plastics like grocery bags through the single-stream service, even though they have an acceptable recycling number?

  • Soft plastics are tricky materials to recycle, as they tangle up the equipment that sorts and processes recyclables. Because of this, such materials can only be recycled through specialty recycling programs, like store drop-off. 

How clean should my recyclable materials be before going to the toter?

  • Recyclable materials should be mostly free of food debris, grease, or liquids.

I have a small desk-side recycling bin in my office or dorm. Is that being recycled?

  • Desk-side bins are not serviced by Building Services staff. Only items placed in the large single-stream recycling toters and gray carts are being recycled. If you have a desk-side bin, it is your responsibility to collect recyclables and then place those items directly into the recycling toter.

Why aren’t there recycling toters in Duncan/LaFortune?

  • There are recycling toters in almost all academic/office/residential buildings, but Duncan and LaFortune have high contamination levels due to multiple food service locations. Our office is working with Building Services to identify solutions to reduce contamination and bring recycling back to these locations.

Why can’t I put cardboard in the recycling toter?

  • Cardboard, even if flattened, tends to take up too much space. If cardboard is included in the toter, then there is reduced ability for other single-stream materials to be recycled, such as plastic, metal, and paper.

How do I recycle batteries?

  • For non-alkaline batteries purchased by the University: please submit a work order request using the recycling tile. Alkaline batteries may be placed in the trash.

Are outdoor bins being recycled?

  • At this time, the green outdoor bins are not being recycled. Only the blue barrels during tailgating events are being recycled. The University is actively working to consider alternative options for outdoor bins that support the current recycling system on campus. 

Where can I recycle if I live off-campus?

Operational and Administrative Questions

For Any Recycling Toter or Cardboard Cart Issue:

  • Submit a work order request using the recycling tile.
  • Examples of cart issues resolved via work order include:
    • Carts missing longer than 2 days
    • Full cart prior to weekly pick-up

What if I have a lot of cardboard to recycle and I don’t have a gray cart?

When are the recycling toters emptied?

  • Recycling toters are taken to the curb once a week on Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning. They are picked up curbside early Wednesday, and are returned during the day on Wednesday.

Where did the common area bins go?

  • To address the tricky issue of contamination, the majority of old recycling bins are being removed from common areas. Individuals are responsible for taking their recycling to the new centralized toters. Your desk-side bins are still available for this purpose as well.

How do I get a desk-side bin?

Are toters the final solution to single-stream recycling collection?

  • Toters are not considered our final solution to addressing recycling on campus. Revitalizing our recycling program is a process. Aesthetics are being considered and tested for best possible solutions that work with the various building types across campus. This is a collective effort to test and learn what is the best solution for our recycling program moving forward.