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How Do I Recycle at UIC?

Recycling stations of different shapes and sizes can be found in the hallways in every building at UIC and should be no more than a few steps away from your office, classroom or lab. These stations usually consist of three bins: Glass, Metal and Plastic, Paper and Landfill. You can recycle clean paper, cardboard, glass, bottles, cans, and most plastics. While everyone is encouraged to recycle, it's important to recycle correctly, and when in doubt, throw it out. If recycling materials become contaminated, it can ruin a whole load and make the recycling process costly and inefficient.

Recycle materials in the desk-side recycling bin in your office Heading link


Seven-gallon desk-side recycling containers with hanging side saddles are provided in offices. Your desk-side recycling container may be gray or blue – either color is fine – and is intended for paper, glass, empty bottles, cans, and other metal or plastic containers. The smaller side-saddle is intended for landfill-bound materials like non-recyclable plastics, mixed material items, or heavily food-soiled items. For staff and students in the residence halls, there are recycling bins in individual rooms or common areas.


Take your materials to the hallway bins Heading link

UIC Staff empties his desk-side recycling bin into the larger hallway bin

Students, faculty, and office staff are expected to empty their desk-side recycling bins and side-saddle landfill containers when full. This means you must carry your trash and recyclables to nearby recycling stations and separate the materials into the appropriate bins. Cardboard should be flattened and placed behind the hallway bins.

These recycling stations usually consist of three bins: Glass, Metal and Plastic, Paper and Landfill. Bins are located at set intervals throughout hallways and larger common areas in most buildings, with easy access from desk-side unit locations. To purchase new recycling stations for your unit, department or college, first consult the UIC Recycling Bin Standard, which is listed under 11-Equipment.

Building service workers take the materials from the bins to the loading dock Heading link

Building service worker attending to recycling bins

Building service workers (BSWs) empty the hallway recycling stations regularly and move the contents to a central collection point. You will see the BSW place a bag of bottles and cans in the same barrel with a bag of paper and trash and that’s okay. The bags are co-mingled while they make their trip up and down the hallways and eventually to your building’s dock area.


Two building service workers emptying a large recycling bin of paper

Once at the dock, the BSW will take the bag of bottles and cans and put it in a 95-gallon blue tote, put the bag of paper into a 95-gallon green tote or cardboard compactor, and the trash bag into the dumpster.

You can recycle outdoors using the BigBelly solar containers Heading link

Two people tossing something into a Big Belly recycling container on campus

You can recycle in BigBelly Solar compacting trash and recycling containers found scattered outdoors around campus.  These bins use solar power to compact the waste and recyclables, creating more container space and fewer pickups. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are reduced by the decreased number of vehicle trips (gas/ diesel emissions), as well as the increased number of items being recycled (instead of sent to landfill) leading to about 50 tons per year of GHG emissions reduction.

When the bins are full, the UIC Grounds department is sent a signal via Wi-Fi and then the bins are emptied and hauled away to a collection point. With fewer recycling pick-ups, Bigbelly allows Grounds to save time collecting waste and can deploy crews to other much-needed assignments across campus, improving productivity.

Materials are moved from the dock to the sorting facilities Heading link

UIC Recycling truck

UIC Transportation visits every dock on campus at least once a week or as needed to collect the contents of the green and blue totes and compacts cardboard in the recycling truck. It also picks up the trash with its garbage truck on a regular schedule.