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Recycling and Composting

Waste Minimization & Reduction

  • Reduce. Conserve resources by using, buying, and wasting less.

  • Re-Use. Choose reusable options instead of disposable items, for everything from water bottles, coffee cups, shopping bags and more!

  • Recycle. Clean and empty your recyclables.

  • Compost. You can compost in the dining hall, Commons, or request compost bins for your events!

It is a goal of UMBC to minimize the waste that is produced by the campus community. Keeping waste out of the landfills decreases greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with resource extraction, manufacturing, landfill disposal, and incineration and saves the university money. Working with student groups, university departments, and contractors, Facilities Management coordinates a comprehensive, campus-wide recycling program and regularly publishes the waste data. For more information about the role waste plays in UMBC’s overall sustainability please visit the Climate Action Plan.  

How to Recycle

UMBC is home to a single-stream recycling program, i.e. paper, glass, plastic, and aluminum are collected together in the same bin for recycling. Containers marked for Recycling are found in outdoor areas, near building entries, in hallways, individual academic departments, and resident hall lounge areas and apartment stairwells. Facilities Management staff places and maintains the Recycling containers on campus. If you spot a Recycling container that needs to be emptied, please report it to FM at 410-455 -2550.

Some buildings may still have outdated Recycling containers that separate paper from glass, plastic, and aluminum. These will be labeled to accept all types of recyclables. Cardboard recycling dumpsters are available behind Dining Hall, Patapsco Hall, Library, Terrace apartments, ITE, and the RAC. Contact Work Control at 410-455-2550 for more information about containers or recycle pickup.

How to Compost 

UMBC participates in organic waste diversion (i.e. composting).  Currently, pre-consumer composting takes place at True Grits. Post-consumer composting is available at the Commons. At UMBC the organic waste is taken to an industrial composting facility; thus, UMBC is able to accept all food products for composting. Additionally, UMBC’s organic waste hauler accepts napkins, compostable flatware, and dishware.

Other Initiatives

Additionally, the campus is promoting these other recycling initiatives:

  • e-CYCLE, a program for recycling electronics and other machines, including batteries.
  • The purchase of recycled paper products and cleaning products that are Green Seal certified.
  • Plastic Film recycling 

Faciliites helps donate used office/classroom furniture and athletic equipment to charitable organizations. Reusable items should not be put into the dumpsters. Student Workforce will relocate unwanted or reusable furniture, electronics and other large items that can be re-purposed. Surplus furniture, electronics, building supplies, and other materials are reused, recycled, or donated to charity. Contact Work Control at 410-455-2550.

RecycleMania Competition

UMBC participates in the annual Recyclemania program. RecycleMania is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities. Over a 10-week period, schools report recycling and trash data which are then ranked according to who collects the largest amount of recyclables per capita, the largest amount of total recyclables, the least amount of trash per capita, or have the highest recycling rate. With each week’s reports and rankings, participating schools watch how their results fluctuate against other schools and use this to rally their campus communities to reduce and recycle more.

For more information about the Waste Reduction and Recycling Committee, or to help promote recycling, contact Charlie Hogan at 410-455-2283 or email