The U of M recycling program has been nationally recognized for its outstanding efforts in recycling implementation. Through the U, over 3,800 tons of recyclable materials are processed annually; this is equivalent to 41% of the municipal solid waste stream. There are over 20,000 color-coded recycling containers to make recycling convenient across campus. These containers are for the collection of office paper, newspaper, cans & bottles, and trash. We are proud to introduce organic containers in several buildings around campus. Our current goal is to recycle 50% of the school's overall waste while our long term goal is zero waste.
About U of M Recycling: Check out which services we offer to the U community.
Recycling Routes: Look up when a recycling truck will be stopping at your building.
Recycling Guide: Find out which common items can or cannot be recycled through our program.
Waste Guide: There are a few items that the UMN Recycling Program can't accept. If you have an item that you're unsure what to do with, use this guide to find out where to dispose of it.
Events: Learn how to make your next event zero waste and find out which events the Recycling Program is participating in.
FAQ: Need to know how to recycle a material or who to call? Here are some of our frequently asked questions.
In The Know
"I think you misunderstood life"
We are all familiar with the three R's of sustainability: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. As a result of our role on campus, the majority of our time is focused on the recycling aspect. Pinterest, Etsy, and DIY blogs have exponentially increased the awareness of everyone's ability to reuse and upcycle. The action that people often forget, even though it is mentioned first, is to reduce. The Guardian's Madeleine Somerville wrote about the difference between reducing and recycling. While recycling is good, it is not a closed loop system and the process still uses large amounts of energy and resources. She also addresses our need to understand why we buy and accumulate stuff.
"Unless we understand why stuff keeps coming through the door, it matters less and less how we organize it, curate it, or dispose of it when we’re done."
We do not have a need for more stuff. Studies have shown that experiences and people are what bring us happiness. Joshua Becker, author of Becoming Minimalist, started to cut clutter from his home in 2008. Since then his family has been focused on more active pursuits. We need to stop defining our lives and happiness by the amount of stuff we have or how busy we are. By reducing our consumption, we not only reduce the negative impact on the environment, but also the stress and clutter in our lives.