Where and How to Recycle

How does recycling work at Notre Dame? Recyclable materials are collected through centrally located recycling toters throughout campus buildings. Each individual on campus is responsible for taking their personal dorm or office bin to 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

What bins are used to recycle? Notre Dame uses toters for single-stream recycling materials and gray carts for cardboard recycling. To ensure your material is properly recycled, it is up to each person to directly place their recyclables into a recycling toter or cardboard cart themselves. Familiarize yourself with the locations of the recycling toters and cardboard carts nearest to you in your building or residence hall.

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

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There’s not a blue toter in your building or office location? Submit a request form to ask that recycling be added to your location. Please note that completion of form does not guarantee receipt of a toter. Requests will be reviewed with the designated building contact for that location.

You’ve identified a recycling toter or cart near you. Now what? When placing recyclable materials in the toter, please make sure you remove any plastic bags beforehand. When placing cardboard in the gray cart, please break down the boxes beforehand.

Still have questions about recycling? Please see the FAQ list below.


Recycling FAQ

At Notre Dame, recycling requires a team effort that includes Building Services, the Office of Sustainability, and YOU! Here are answers to our most frequently asked questions:

Where can I recycle on campus?

What can I recycle? 

  • Check the A-Z Waste Directory. 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.

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.

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.