Waste Reduction: Recycling

Elon's recycling program began in the late 1980s as a student initiative and is now managed by Environmental Services. Elon recycles or composts about 30% of its waste stream (excluding construction projects). In addition to typical paper, glass and plastic recyclables, the University also recycles the following from its waste stream: automotive batteries, fluorescent bulbs, motor oil, tires, electronics and shipping pallets.

Return to Campus Initiatives: Waste Reduction for information on composting and other landfill waste reduction measures.

Click on a material below to see more information about how and where to recycle it at Elon.

Plastic, Aluminum Cans and GlassPrinter & Toner cartridgesCell phones
PaperHousehold BatteriesCDs & DVDs
CardboardSmall ElectronicsWriting Instruments (pens, pencils, markers)


Plastic, Aluminum Cans, Glass & Mixed Paper

Plastics (#1, #2, #4, #5 and #7 plastic food & beverage containers), glass (all colors), metals (e.g. soda cans, soup cans) and all types of paper (newspaper, magazines, office paper of any color, sticky notes, envelopes with plastic windows, paperboard, etc.) can be recycled in the same bin. See the Recycling Program webpage for a complete list of recyclable paper items.

Recycling FAQs:

  • What about pizza boxes? If the box is free of grease stains and food residue, recycle the box.  If the pizza box has food residue and grease stains, compost it.
  • Do I have to wash an item before putting it in a recycle bin? No, but removing as much beverage or food residue before recycling an item helps ensure all items, particularly paper, remain viable for recycling.
  • What do the numbers inside the arrows mean on plastics? These numbers indicate the type of plastic used to make the object.It is not an indication that the item is recyclable. For a full description and examples of what each number corresponds to see this article.

Bin Location: Bins are located near trash cans in classrooms, hallways, offices, lounges, common spaces, outdoor campus locations and trash/recycling rooms of residence halls.  If you do not have a deskside recycling bin in your office, you may request one by contacting Environmental Services.


To recycle cardboard, break it down flat and put it next to any recycling bin inside a building, preferably in offices and trash/recycling rooms.

Bin Location: Everywhere there is a blue recycling bin.

Printer & Toner Cartridges

Inkjet cartridges: Cartridges may be deposited in a Rapid Refill collection bin like the one pictured (locations below). For large cartridges, call physical plant x5500 to request they be picked up.

Laserjet cartridges purchased from Laser Consultants: Return empty cartridges to Purchasing CB 2950.

Laserjet cartridges from Office Depot, Rapid Refill or other venders: Some vendors offer a buy-back or take-back option. Contact your vendor for details.  Typically a new cartridge is shipped with a label or preprinted envelope for returning the empty cartridge. If your vendor does not have a take-back option, deposit empty cartridges in a Rapid Refill container.

Canon printers/copiers: See the Technology wiki for how to recycle toners and cartridges.

Bin Locations - inkjet and laserjet cartridges: bins located in Moseley Center: Student Involvement Office and near the mail room; Johnston Hall 2nd floor copy room; McMichael near office 102; Oaks McCoy Commons 1st floor; Mooney 1st floor copy room; Gerald L. Francis Center student lounge; School of Law upper stack copy room; laundry or trash rooms in residential neighborhoods.

Household Batteries

There are four battery recycling bins on campus.

Bin Locations: Belk Library main stairwell; McEwen Communications main floor near elevator; Center for the Arts 1st floor near elevator; Moseley Center near the mail room;  Johnston Hall 2nd floor copy room; Whitley office area; Gerald L. Francis Center student lounge; Arts West 102 lounge; Colonnades E Harper Hall; The School of Law upper stack stairwell.



Small Electronics

Many electronics are now banned from the landfill in North Carolina. Click here for information about this law and recycling information. Large, University-owned electronics can be recycled by contacting Physical Plant (ext. 5500).

Small electronics such as: cell phones, digital cameras, MP3 players, computer speakers, hard drives, CDs, DVDs, CD/DVD drives, disks, headsets, cords, cables and chargers can be recycled in grey collection bins located throughout campus. 

Bin Locations: Belk Library main stairwell; Moseley Center near mail room; Center for the Arts 1st floor by the elevator, McEwen Communications main floor elevator; McMichael Science Building by office 102; Mooney 1st floor copy room, Lindner Hall 1st floor break room; Johnston Hall 2nd floor copy room; Koury Business Center main stairwell; Center for Leadership; Gerald L. Francis Center student lounge; School of Law upper stack stairwell.

Writing Instruments

Used writing intruments may be recycled in the container located in Belk Library's main stairwell. Recyclable writing intruments include pens, pencils, mechanical pencils, markers, highlighters, sharpies and dry erase markers.