Recycling and waste


VCU Sustainability, in tandem with the Custodial Operations department, have made an effort to centralize the collection of both recyclable and non-recyclable waste by locating recycling and trash containers, in central areas throughout the university. Both departments have worked closely together to ensure the proper placement and number of containers for recycling and waste, to provide convenient and efficient collection.

A goal of VCU is to increase the amount of waste we are diverting from the landfill. Currently, VCU diverts 25% of our waste from the landfill through various reducing, reusing and recycling methods. As a university, we are committed to increasing our diversion rate 3% each calendar year. To achieve this goal, we require participation across the university in our recycling program as well as participation in reuse and reducing programs at VCU.

Check out the Recycling at VCU video below to see what can be recycled on campus and where it goes after it is recycled. 

How and what to recycle

VCU utilizes a single stream recycling program meaning that all recyclable material can be placed in the same recycling bin. Recycling bins are located throughout campus and are marked with signage (see below) indicating the types of materials that can be recycled including those items listed below. Other items should be placed in waste bins. 

  • Paper (e.g., newspaper, copy paper, magazines and posters)
  • Plastics #1-7 (e.g., cups, jugs, bottles and food packaging labeled with the recycling icon and #1-7) 
    • Plastic bags and packaging should not be recycled in these bins – they can clog recycling machinery. However, plastic bags with the recycling icon can be recycled at many grocery and large retail stores. 
  • Metal (e.g., soda/soup cans and aliminum foil)
  • Cardboard (e.g., unsoiled pizza boxes, cereal boxes, boxes, and paper towel and toilet paper rolls)

Recyclable materials that contained food should be rinsed before recycling to avoid contaminating the recyclable materials. If food contamination cannot be removed from an item (e.g., pizza box with grease), it should be placed in the waste bin. 

Recycling bins are emptied once per week by custodial staff during scheduled office cleaning. For more information, visit the Custodial Operations web page of the FMD website. 

Recycling bins and service for current bins can be requested via the Facilities Self Service. 

Paper, Plastic, Glass, Metal, Cardboard

Recycling other items

Employees with recyclable batteries, light bulbs or small, non-working electronics that need to be recycled should contact their building manager for assistance. A list of building managers and contact information can be found on the VCU Facilities Management building managers web page.

Used printer cartridges can be recycled by placing them in the original box so the vendor can pick them up when dropping off new orders. 

The VCU Surplus Property Department can assist with disposing of or transferring unused university property, such as furniture, electronics (e.g., computers and televisions). For more information and contact information, visit the Surplus Property web page.

Recycling partnerships

In 2013, VCU Department of Fashion Design and Merchandising's associate chair Kim Guthrie contacted VCU Sustainability for assistance with recycling scrap and excess fabric left over from student projects. The partnership was the first and is still one of only a few fashion school textile recycling programs in the country. Since then, the partnership has recycled over 3,000 pounds of textiles that would have otherwise been sent to the landfill. 


Non-recyclable items should be placed in waste bins located throughout campus. Many of these bins are marked with the signage displayed below. 

Custodial staff empties waste bins in common areas (e.g., kitchens, break rooms, hallways, restrooms, lobbies and copy rooms) each day. Trash receptacles in individual offices will not be emptied. 

For more information about these services, visit the Custodial Operations web page of the FMD website. 

Plastic Bags, Food Waste, Styrofoam, Soiled Paper


Download the Recycling and Waste Signage. [PDF]