Campus Waste Guidelines

food waste, recycling, and landfill signs listing acceptable materials

What Goes in the Bins?




  • Food waste stream accepts FOOD WASTE ONLY. (No containers, cutlery, or packaging of any kind, even if it is labeled "compostable")
  • Food scraps (anything edible: meat, bones, veggies, dairy, grains, etc)
  • Napkins, tea bags, & coffee grounds/filters

That’s it! This bin is for food scraps only.




  • Cardboard - Shipping boxes, cereal boxes, egg cartons, paper towel and toilet paper rolls (no waxy coatings, or boxes meant for the refrigerator or freezer
  • Paper - Office paper, newspaper, paper bags, magazines, junk mail (staples and envelope windows are OK. No books please)
  • Pizza boxes - yup! just discard any remaining food/crusts or liner paper, greasy is okay!
  • Plastic Bottles, Jugs, Tubs, & Lids - plastic drink bottles, milk jugs, yogurt cups, tubs and lids, shampoo bottles, etc. (put the caps back on so they won’t slip through the cracks in the equipment)
  • Clear plastic cups (empty, no lid, no straw)
  • Metal Cans - Soda and beer cans, soup and vegetable cans, foil
  • Glass Bottles & Jars - beer bottles, other beverage bottles, pickle jars (no pyrex, ceramics, or window glass)


  • Plastic bags and film
  • Single-use Utensils
  • Non-recyclable containers (black plastic, #6 plastic, paper or compostable take-out containers & coffee cups, solo cups)
  • Boxes/packaging meant for the refrigerator or freezer (eg. soda cases, frozen dinner boxes)
  • Anything else that isn’t food waste or can’t be recycled
    No food waste bin available? Food waste should then be put in trash.

Other Items

  • Liquids – always dump liquids out before placing items in any bin.
  • Clothing and Textiles – bring these to the Bay State Textiles bin (located at Southwest Horseshoe and next to Brooks hall).
  • Electronic Waste – bring your e-waste to your Residential Service Desk.

To test your knowledge of current campus waste guidelines, visit the UMass Waste Quiz

Interested in how our waste system is connected to climate change?  Watch "Waste Not Warm Not" below...