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What's Recyclable?

Paper and Books

YES:

  • 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

NO:

  • 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

Cardboard

ALL cardboard boxes must be broken down.

YES:

  • corrugated cardboard
  • brown paper bags
  • paperboard (i.e. soapboxes, gift boxes, cereal boxes)
Be sure the paperboard you have is clean and free of food waste. Then recycle it.

NO:

  • cardboard coffee cups
  • cardboard lined with plastic (i.e. bubblewrap boxes)
  • waxed/waterproof cardboard

Metal

Make sure it's clean! Please wash out all food containers!

YES:

  • 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  

NO:

  • motor oil cans
  • metal and cardboard containers
  • paint cans

Glass

Make sure it's clean! Please wash out all food containers! 

YES:

  • all colors glass bottles and jars
  • glass food containers
  • beer and wine bottles 

NO:

Not all glass can be recycled.

The following items should NOT be placed in the recycling bin:

  • 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

Plastics

Make sure it's clean! Please wash out all food containers!

Does that plastic lunch container still have yesterday's pizza in it? Don't recycle it until it's clean!

One dirty product, or one with food waste still in it, can contaminate thousands of pounds of collected plastics. This can cause thousands of recyclable items to go to a landfill instead of being recycled.

Cleanliness is essential!

YES:

  • 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

NO:

The code number does not mean the plastic can be recycled. It is simply a way to identify the plastic type.

  • 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)

8 things you don't want to recycle-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

For more information about recycling at University of Portland, contact recycling coordinator Sean Smith.  

For a comprehensive list of what can be recycled please visit