Waste Minimization

When people think of sustainability, recycling is often what first comes to mind. However, of the three R’s (reduction, reuse, and recycling), recycling should be a last resort, with reduction and reuse prioritized where possible. See the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Waste Management Hierarchy below to learn more about materials management. 
EPA Waste Hierarchy

Waste Management Hierarchy | Source Reduction & Reuse | Recycling/Composting | Energy Recovery | Treatment & Disposal

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does UMB use dual-stream instead of single-stream recycling? 

Separating out paper and cardboard from mixed plastics, metal, and glass ensures that the paper and cardboard stream is as clean as possible and doesn't get contaminated with any liquid or residue that may be lurking in the mixed plastics, metal, and glass stream. Using a dual-stream system allows UMB to maximize our recycling potential.

What does UMB recycle in its dual-stream recycling bins? 

Paper/Cardboard Bins

  • Office paper
  • Computer printouts
  • Books (including paperbacks, textbooks, and hardbacks)
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines and catalogs
  • Envelopes
  • Brown paper bags
  • Flattened cardboard and paperboard boxes

Mixed Plastic, Metal, and Glass Bins

  • Rigid plastics (including jugs, bottles, and containers)
  • Aluminum
  • Steel containers
  • Glass bottles

Where can I get a recycling bin? 

Once the self-service waste initiative is rolled out in your building, if you have an additional need for a waste station due to a renovation, change in a space's use, or other factor, put in a work order through the UMB Facilities Work Request Portal to get bins for your space. 

I live off-campus. How do I recycle? 

Check out the website for the Baltimore City Department of Public Works to learn about what is accepted in the city’s curbside recycling program. If you live outside of Baltimore City, check with your local municipality.

Why can’t I recycle a particular material on campus, but can at home? 

Recycling is a market-driven operation. The items accepted by municipalities and institutions is dependent on each locality and materials recovery facility (MRF). While any item can technically be recycled, MRFs may not be able to find a local buyer for certain materials.

UMB utilizes a different recycling hauler than Baltimore City, and thus the types of materials accepted differ between the two locations.

Where can I compost food waste at UMB? 

Stay tuned for information on where you can drop off your food scraps to be composted at UMB!

I work in a lab at UMB and have biological, chemical, and/or radioactive waste to dispose of. How do I properly dispose of this hazardous waste? 

To comply with applicable federal and state regulations, every hazardous waste container must be tagged or labeled properly using the Hazardous Waste Labels furnished by Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) the instant that the material inside the container is determined to be a waste. For more information, please visit the EHS website

What about all of my other miscellaneous items that I don’t want to throw away? 

Learn about specialty recycling collections on UMB's campus by visiting this link.

Visit our Specialty Recycling in the Greater Baltimore Area map for information on recycling light bulbs, batteries, electronics, plastic bags/film, compost, and more throughout the Greater Baltimore area.

For any other miscellaneous items, visit Earth 911.

Can I request a training in waste and recycling from the Office of Sustainability? 

The Office of Sustainability is happy to provide a presentation or training session about waste management and recycling on campus to your department, student organization, or any other group. Please reach out to sustainability@umaryland.edu to set up a session.