What Can I Drop in That Blue Bin?

What Can I Drop in That Blue Bin?Have you ever found yourself approaching the blue recycling bin in your departmental kitchen and stopping, paralyzed, Lean Cuisine box in hand? Is this garbage, you wonderIs this recyclableWhat about my empty Ziploc bag from lunchI've seen that lady from down the hall putting plastic bags in the recycling? Can I?

Dearest UMB faculty/staff/student, don't worry. UMB Go Green has a list!

Let's start with the facts:

  1. UMB does not single stream our recycling. Why not? 
    Vassie Hollamon, our associate director of operations and maintenance, says, "We have chosen to not employ a single stream recycling program primarily to avoid the problems of insects and smells in offices. Paper is the predominant recyclable commodity produced in an office and it offers no attractive nuisance. If we co-mingled wet containers or food packaging with paper, we might cause problems we would rather avoid. It is well worth avoiding a pest problem."
  2. Paper recycling baskets are available to put by your desk and by printers and copiers in office areas. 
  3. Non-paper recycling bins are located in buildings across campus: in lobbies, office kitchens, break rooms, vending areas; etc. 
  4. UM now offers small electronics recycling including batteries, cellphones, and ink cartridges. Small blue buckets are located across campus in office and lab support areas. 

‌If your area is in need of recycling containers, please call the Operations and Maintenance Service Center at 6-7570. 

Now, about that list you were promised? Below, find a bullet-pointed and slightly annotated (!) summary of what goes where. 


  • Newspapers (with inserts)
  • Magazines and catalogs
  • Junk mail
  • Cardboard and paperboard boxes (including cereal boxes and frozen food packaging) 
  • Corrugated boxes
  • Computer printouts
  • Books (paperback, textbooks, hardback, phone)  
  • Office paper (including typing, fax, copy, and letterhead) 
  • Envelopes
  • Brown and white paper bags
  • Non-metallic wrapping paper
  • Milk and juice cartons (no juice boxes)


  • Plastics 1-7 (On your plastic container, there will be a recycling symbol with a number in the middle — 1 through 7 — throw those in! This means yogurt containers, bottles, jugs, etc.) The only kind of plastic we don't recycle is Styrofoam.
  • Glass (all colors, all kinds)
  • Aluminum (cans, containers, foil, pie pans, etc.)
  • Steel/tin containers (canned goods of all kinds: soup, veggies, fruits, Vienna sausages)

Now that you are armed with your list, we hope you will go out into your UMB world a more confident recycler. Get out there and sort!

Back to Waste