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Virginia Tech is participating in the Campus Race to Zero Waste from January 29th to March 25th! The Race to Zero Waste is a friendly competition among colleges and universities across North America to reduce waste, increase recycling, and raise awareness of conservation efforts. Help Virginia Tech win the race by learning more about what can be recycled on campus and how you can make a difference! If you have any questions about recycling and waste management on campus, please email 

As of July 1, 2020 recycling guidelines in Montgomery County have changed. The following services have now been discontinued: 

  • Shredded paper recycling
  • Hardbound/softbound book recycling
  • Household hazardous waste disposal
  • Electronic waste disposal
  • Universal waste disposal

For more detailed guides on recycling and  waste disposal, see below or visit MRSWA's website


Virginia Tech Recycling (VTR) provides dependable, convenient, and cost effective recycling services to the university community. The program supports campus sustainability and the Virginia Tech 2020 Climate Action Commitment Plan goal to be zero-waste by 2030 and achieve a 55 percent recycling rate by 2025.


  • When in doubt, throw it out!  When throwing trash into the recycling, it contaminates the entire bin. (For sustainability in the Dining Halls visit the Sustainable Dining website)
  •  Only plastics #1 (PET) and #2 (HDPE) containers are accepted as of July 2018. (Think of plastic bottles, cans, and food containers).
  • Do not bag recyclables (plastic bags get caught in the conveyer belt and can cause damage).


  • Plastic containers #1 (PET) and #2 (HDPE)  (Plastic bottles, jugs, and empty food containers)
  • Coffee cup sleeves (if cardboard)
  • Glass bottles and jars (all colors)
  • Aluminum cans (no pans or trays)
  • Steel and tin cans
  • White office paper (staples/paper clips ok!)
  • All colored paper (staples/paper clips ok!)
  • Newspaper
  • Magazines and glossy paper
  • Junk mail (envelopes with address window ok!)
  • Catalogues and phone books
  • Pamphlets and brochures
  • Paperboard (cereal/tissue boxes)
  • Small corrugated cardboard and pizza boxes (no food inside)
  • Manila folders and envelopes
  • Padded envelopes (filled with fiber, NOT bubblewrap)

*Large cardboard can be recycled in special cardboard recycling bins around campus. For more information, please contact Facilities Customer Service at 540-231-4300.

  • Plastics numbered #3-#7 (This includes Solo cups)
  • Shredded paper
  • Compostable materials (see composting)
  • Coffee cups
  • Mirrors
  • Window glass (because it melts down differently)
  • Labware
  • Ceramic dishware
  • Styrofoam
  • Plastic bags and wrap (such a saran wrap or cellophane)
  • Carbon paper
  • Waxed paper cartons (Ex. milk cartons)
  • Metal or plastic binders
  • Tyvek envelopes (Ex. FedEx envelopes)

Composting is available in all dining facilities on campus. The compostable materials vary between facilities, but the following items are always compostable:

  • Food waste (including leftover cooked items)
  • Coca Cola cold cups and lids (labelled as compostable)
  • Compostable to-go clamshells
  • Pizza boxes
  • Napkins
  • Paper product

Not sure? Check the Sit & Sort website.

Hardbound books are no longer recyclable through MRSWA.

Environmental Health and Safety is responsible for disposing of defunct computers, cell phones, printers, and other electronics, as well as unwanted or broken cables and wires. Contact Rob Lowe for more information and to schedule a pick-up or drop-off.

There are battery recycling bins in several general use buildings on campus. Additionally, small battery recycling containers can be provided to department office areas for use. Contact Rob Lowe to order a bin to be placed in a particular office space, or if an existing battery collection bin is full. 

These bins are for all varieties of small batteries, including 9-volts. Tape the electrodes on the end of 9-volt batteries before placing them inside the bin to avoid accidental shocks or corrosion. All other batteries are safe to place in the bin without tape. 

The Environmental Student Organization (ESO) collects the batteries from the containers from around campus and delivers them to the EHS on a monthly basis. Contact ESO to volunteer for a pick up! 

Please do not place large batteries into the collection bins. To schedule a pick-up or drop-off of larger battery types, contact Environmental Health and Safety.

Environmental Health and Safety oversees the collection of a variety of other hazardous materials for recycling on campus. These items should not be placed into recycling bins around campus. Contact Enviornmental Health and Safety to schedule a pickup of these materials:

  • Fluorescent tube lights
  • Compact fluorescent light bulbs
  • Car and other large batteries
  • Laboratory materials
  • Scrap metals

Departments participating in the university's Copier Management Program can recycle ink and toner cartridges through Printing Services who manages the program.

Items that qualify for the recycling program:

  • Toner cartridges
  • Imaging units
  • Waste toner bottles
  • Developer/developer units
  • Drums

Departments who do not participate in the program should drop ink cartridges off at the university collection site at the Grounds Building on Sterrett Drive. For more information, contact Facilities Customer Service at 540-231-4300.