Recycle UP! | University of Portland

Recycle UP!

recycle rules
Waste management

For more information about recycling at the University of Portland, please contact Physical Plant's Recycling Coordinator Sean Smith. For recycling guidelines in Portland, please visit




All recyclables must be clean! Please wash them out!

One dirty item -- one with food waste in it -- can contaminate thousands of pounds of collected recyclables. This causes tons of perfectly reusable materials to go to a landfill instead of be recycled. 

Paper and Books


  • all office paper
  • white paper
  • colored paper
  • newspaper (bags and strings removed)
  • magazines (all types)
  • catalogs (all types)
  • phonebooks (all types)
  • junk mail
  • scrap paper
  • paperboard (such as cereal boxes)
  • tissue boxes
  • heavy weight folders
  • paper towel and toilet paper tubes/rolls only
  • shredded paper (must be put in a paper bag) 
  • paper milk, juice, and soy milk cartons (should be empty and clean)
  • books: all soft cover, hard covers should be ripped off
  • paper coffee cups
  • napkins
  • tissue paper
  • paper towels
  • wax paper
  • foil wrapping paper
  • any paper product which has the potential to be contaminated with bodily fluids


ALL cardboard boxes must be broken down, clean and free of food waste.
  • corrugated cardboard
  • brown paper bags
  • paperboard (i.e. soapboxes, gift boxes, cereal boxes)
  • cardboard coffee cups
  • cardboard lined with plastic (i.e. bubblewrap boxes)
  • waxed/waterproof cardboard


All metal food containers must be clean! Please wash them out!
  • aluminum cans (soda cans, energy drinks, sparkling waters, etc. )
  • steel cans and tin cans (soup cans, veggie cans, coffee cans, etc.)
  • aluminum foil and bakeware  
  • aluminum pie plates and trays  
  • motor oil cans
  • metal and cardboard containers
  • paint cans


All glass food containers must be clean! Please wash them out!
  • all colors glass bottles and jars
  • glass food containers
  • beer and wine bottles 
  • any glass contaminated with stones, dirt, and food waste.
  • ceramics, such as dishware, ovenware, and decorative items.
  • heat-resistant glass, such as Pyrex.
  • mixed colors of broken glass.
  • mirror or window glass.
  • metal or plastic caps and lids.
  • crystal
  • light bulbs


All plastic containers must be clean! Please wash them out!
Note: Just because a plastic container has a code number, does not mean it can be recycled. The code number is simply a way to identify the plastic type.
  • bottles, jars and jugs
  • food and beverage containers
  • screw top jars
  • round deli-style containers (NO clamshell containers) 
  • milk jugs
  • soap bottles
  • plastic jugs/bottles: soda bottles, laundry detergent jugs
  • plastic coffee cups or drinks cups (Starbucks, McDonalds, Dutch Bros., etc)
  • plastic to-go containers (even if they have a recycle symbol, they can't be recycled)
  • clamshell containers (salad containers, prepackaged food, etc.)
  • plastic tableware and straws
  • Styrofoam (all foam products including peanuts, containers, cups, etc)  
  • plastic "baggies" or plastic wrap (can be recycled at a grocery store, if clean)
  • plastic grocery bags (can be recycled at most local grocery stores)

NEVER Recycle These 8 Things! PLEASE DON'T!

  1. plastic bags - do not put any type of plastic bag in our recycling bins, you can drop these off at many local grocery stores for recycling 
  2. plastic to-go containers
  3. plastic bottle tops and lids
  4. frozen and refrigerated food boxes
  5. coffee cups
  6. take-out pizza boxes (and other food contaminated boxes) 
  7. Styrofoam
  8. batteries