Recyclable Materials Guide


UMass recyclables are collected and shipped to the Springfield Materials Recovery Facility (SMRF) where they are sorted through a combination of both mechanical and manual techniques. Sorting systems developed over the last 10 years allow the co-mingling of paper and bottle/can recycling streams into a single stream.

Excessive contamination of the single stream material with food residue, liquids, dirt, broken glass or non-recyclable papers and plastics can still cause problems at the sorting plant or the mill where the baled end-product materials are shipped. UMass' recyclables shipments to the SMRF that contain 5% or more of contaminants are subject to rejection and trash disposal charges.

Use any of the following colored recycling bins where you see the label "ALL-IN-ONE BIN":

Please read and follow the following instructions regarding both the scope of acceptable recyclables and preparation requirements.

As a general rule, acceptable types of bottles and cans (containers) are associated with food, beverage and laundry packaging. Chance are, if the container housed materials from a paint, automotive or hardware store — they involve hazardous materials and are not accepted in this recycling program.

Major categories of unacceptable containers are as follows:

  • Over-sized glass or plastic containers are those over 2 gallons
  • Broken glass — even if from food and beverage containers
  • Plastic cups, blister pack, polystyrene(#6) including Styrofoam
  • Containers — even if empty — used for motor oil, paint or chemicals
  • Containers smaller than 4 ounces in volume (including medicine bottles
  • Containers with more than incidental amounts of food or liquid residue

Major categories of unacceptable paper types are as follows:

  • Paper that is more wet than simply damp
  • Adhesive backing paper from labels
  • Paper that is layered with plastic or bubble wrap
  • Very old, crumbling paper/newspapers

Complete List of Do's and Don'ts for Single Stream Recycling


Clean Metal, Glass and Plastic: bottles, cans, jars & tubs (drain & rinse) Labels, caps & lids can stay on

  • Clean aluminum foil & trays
  • Milk and juice cartons & drink boxes
  • Clear plastic clamshells
  • Empty aerosols cans (food, personal care or laundry)


  • Cups or utensils (plastic or paper)
  • Liquids (pour out please!)
  • Plastic bags or films
  • Ceramics, light bulbs, test tubes
  • Styrofoam of any kind
  • Hazardous chemical bottles


  • News/Magazines/Junk Mail
  • Copy/Notebook Paper
  • Boxboard (cereal, office supplies)
  • Spiral notebooks
  • Clean pizza boxes
  • Phonebooks, catalogs & paperback books (covers ok!)
  • Manila envelopes
  • Stickies, index


  • Egg cartons
  • Soiled pizza boxes
  • Paper napkins,tissues & towels
  • Paper cups & plates
  • Beer & soda cartons
  • Padded mailer envelopes
  • Hardcover books

The New Single Stream - “All-In-One Bin” - Recycling Program in Academic and Adminstrative Areas of Campus

(A slightly different version of this letter was distributed the week before Labor Day to all offices and labs campus-wide)

As of Monday, September 3, UMass faculty, staff and students can begin placing all the usual recyclables in one desk side recycling bin (labs & classrooms too), AND have it picked up at your desk on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

All types of recyclable paper can be mixed with clean bottles, cans, jars and tubs (plastic, aluminum, glass or steel) in your blue or green desk side recycling bin. And, for the first time, this program allows you to also recycle paperboard (e.g. cracker or gift boxes), clean pizza boxes, clear plastic clamshells and empty aerosol cans (non-chemical).

Please remember, if you have beverage bottles, yogurt cups or food cans with fluid/food residue - please rinse or cap them before placing them in your desk side bin. Desk side trash pickup happens on Monday, Wednesday and Friday only.

A note to those staff who temporarily store documents in their desk side recycling bin. Now that all offices will receive twice weekly desk side recycling pickup, this practice is not recommended. Custodial Services will assume that any and all materials in the blue or green desk side are intended for recycling.

Since 2001, it has been University policy to recycle all of the materials listed by the state Department of Environmental Protection as banned from Massachusetts disposal facilities. Every employee and student is asked and expected to comply.


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