At UIC, you can recycle paper, cardboard, metal, and most plastic materials in the hallway bins found in every building on campus (and even in the "BigBellies" outside). You can even recycle laboratory plastics, gloves, batteries, pens and markers, and plastic bags in a select number of buildings.
UIC recycles almost like the City of Chicago. The difference is that UIC separates paper/cardboard from the rest of the recycling. UIC receives revenue for paper and cardboard, which helps to fund UIC's recycling program.
Paper and Cardboard Heading link
Yes, please place these items in the Paper Recycling bin
white and colored paper
newspapers & magazines
chip board (e.g. tissue boxes)
Please break down all cardboard boxes and place behind or next to the paper recycling bin.
No, do not recycle these items:
wet paper or cardboard
used coffee cups
tissue paper, napkins, or paper towels
food-soaked cardboard (e.g., greasy pizza boxes)
Yes, please place these items in the Metal and Plastic Recycling bin
metal cartons and containers (empty)
plastic bottles (empty)
plastics with a recycling symbol and numbers #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #7
aluminum foil (relatively clean and not soiled)
juice boxes and Tetra Paks
non-hazardous chemical bottles (empty)*
*Never recycle a chemical bottle that used to contain flammable, toxic, oxidizing, explosive, radioactive, water reactive, carcinogenic, biohazardous, or corrosive substances. Please see the EHSO Lab Safety Plan how to identify a hazardous chemical and dispose of hazardous chemical bottles according to regulations.
No, do not recycle these items
any plastic without a recycling symbol (plastic forks, spoons & knives/straws/plates)
#6 plastics (polystyrene and Styrofoam products)
food and candy wrappers and packets
(Please recycle plastic bags and film in the specially marked bins across campus. See “plastic film” section for details.)
UIC recycles batteries, including alkaline, lithium, nickel cadmium, and zinc carbon. The batteries are collected by PSPM, Environmental Services (EVS) at UI Health, and Facilities Management (FM). EVS and FM cover the costs to ship them to the recycling vendors.
Departments and individuals that wish to recycle their alkaline batteries must bring them to any of the buildings listed below. If you have a small amount that can fit inside an inter-campus mail envelope, you can send them via campus mail: Recycling Coordinator, PSPM, M/C 996.
The Physical Plant Building (PPB) is the final collection point for battery recycling before it is shipped to the recycler. When the battery collection is full in one of the collection areas, you can arrange to have the batteries picked up by calling the Assistant Director for Building Operations at (312) 996-5913. If you want to drop batteries off at the PPB, the batteries are collected in two blue barrels. To locate them, enter at the dock door, and proceed down the hallway.
Pens and Markers
Starting in 2011, UIC has participated in a Terracycle Brigade to collect and recycle used writing utensils. In Fall 2014, UIC sent over 32 pounds of used writing instruments to be recycled into products like plastic storage bins. In Summer 2016, a student authored a Sustainability Fund proposal that allowed the program to expand all over campus!
We accept pens and pen caps, mechanical pencils, markers and marker caps, permanent markers and permanent marker caps. Student Centers and College of Medicine West (CMW) have a combined recycling cabinet, each with three drawers: one for batteries, one for plastic bags, and one for spent writing instruments.
Departments and individuals that wish to recycle their writing utensils must bring them to any of the buildings listed below. If you have a small amount that can fit inside an inter-campus mail envelope, you can send them via campus mail: Recycling Coordinator, PSPM, M/C 996, 1140 S. Paulina St., 150 PSB Chicago, IL 60612.
East Side of Campus
Addams Hall (AH), African American Cultural Center, second floor
Behavioral Sciences Building (BSB) lounge near Harrison Street entrance
Burnham Hall (BH), UIC Honors College
Daley Library, (LIB) East Entrance
Education and Social Work Building (ETMSW)
Engineering Research Facility (ERF) Atrium
Grant Hall (GH) outside the Writing Center, room 105 (hallway)
Physical Plant Building (PPB) Dock area (batteries only)
Roosevelt Road Building (RRB) second floor, structure 4 (batteries only)
Science Engineering Offices (SEO) first floor north and south entrance vestibule area
Student Center East (SCE) second floor by the Halsted Street Station convenience store
Student Services Building (SSB) first floor lobby, near Admissions
University Hall (UH) first floor lobby, near mailboxes
West Side of Campus
Applied Health Sciences Building (APHB) first floor hallway
College of Medicine West (CMW) outside room 106 and at first floor entrance at 1853 W Polk Street.
College of Pharmacy (PHARM), south dock (batteries only).
Paulina Street Building (PSB), room 150
Student Center West (SCW) lobby next to Student Services
Library of the Health Sciences (LHS) lobby at Paulina entrance (batteries only)
Plastic Film (Also Known As Plastic Bags)
Plastic film is not accepted in UIC’s recycling program and therefore cannot be placed in the Bottles and Cans bins around campus. Instead, if you choose to recycle your plastic film, you must take the material to the specially marked bin in Student Center East, Student Center West, Student Services Building, or the College of Medicine West building to the combined recycling cabinet for batteries, plastic bags, and spent writing instruments.
Additionally, you may recycle any plastic film (not just the bags from the grocery store) at your local grocery store or big box retailer.
Toner and Ink Cartridges
The UIC Copiers program and its partner, the Gordon Flesch Company (GFC), are committed to supporting UIC’s Zero Waste goal. By moving away from use of individual desktop printers to central printers in order to reduce toner waste and other printing costs such as paper. Faculty and staff may recycle used ink, copier, and printer toner cartridges (as well as printer fusers) from any manufacturer in two easy ways.
If you are a UIC Copiers customer:
- The Gordon Flesch Recycle Services program will accept all brands of empty printer cartridges except for Cannon or Sharp. They also accept used printer fusers, but they do not accept toner tubes or toner bottles.
- Gordon Flesch will also pick-up from University Hall (1st floor), College of Pharmacy (room B52), UI Health Hospital (Nursing Services, room 1502 or Pharmacy, room C-300), School of Public Health and Psychiatric Institute, (room 553), or Westside Research Office Building (room 155)
If you are not a UIC Copiers customer:
- You can use the manufacturers’ pre-paid labels to return spent cartridges or bring your used cartridges to either the Student Services Building or Student Center West (Publication Services).
If you have unused inkjet or toner cartridges, or other working components from printers and copiers, contact us for help finding a new user for them before sending them to be recycled.
Pipette Tip Boxes
Dispose pipette tip boxes in the specially-marked bins near labs – they will be recycled and eventually turned into other uses such as agricultural trays for plants. Please do not fill the bin greater than 75% full, as it makes it difficult for UIC building service workers to handle the bag of recycling.
Please note that only #5 type polypropylene plastic from clean, uncontaminated pipette tip boxes, lids, and refillable trays will be accepted. No other lab plastic is accepted. UIC cannot accept pipette tips because they have the potential to puncture and tear open the bags and, more importantly, there is no guarantee that the tips are clean.
By their nature, boxes, lids, and trays are used to store clean plastic (like the tips) so they are inherently clean. Tips, on the other hand, are designed to contain chemicals and biological agents, and should be regarded as trash, or sometimes biohazardous waste. Even if the tips have never been used, they are still treated as trash. If a bag is found to have pipette tips or any other types of lab plastic (e.g., chemical bottles, centrifuge tubes, etc.), the entire bag becomes trash.
Currently, bins can be found throughout the hallways of College of Medicine Research Building (COMRB), Medical Sciences Building (MSB), College of Medicine West Tower (CMWT), College of Medicine West (CMW), College of Medicine East (CME), Clinical Sciences North (CSN), Clinical Sciences Building (CSB), College of Dentistry (COD), College of Pharmacy (PHARM), Molecular Biology Research Building (MBRB), Center for Structural Biology, and Applied Health Sciences Building (AHSB).
To request a bin in your building, please email email@example.com and tell us your building name and room number.