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Waste Frequently Asked Questions

  • Talk to your custodial crew staff leaders (ask a custodial member if you’re not sure who that is) about getting a bin in your office, your custodial crew is responsible for placing and maintaining the bins in their assigned buildings.

  • Classrooms should all have recycling bins for paper; if you don’t see a place to recycle paper, talk to your custodial staff and let them know which classroom is missing a bin.

  • Recycling quads for conference rooms are very expensive, and costs add up quickly. While we are working to increase the number of quads, all buildings should have recycling for mixed paper, office packs, and plastics 1 and 2 (receptacles are usually located on a building’s main floor).

  • Historically, recycling bins at the U are often contaminated with food or other waste when placed outdoors. This leads to greater expense for the recycling crew and less material being recycled.

  • Main campus recycling is put out on Thursday evening and picked up on Friday morning.

  • In the instances where holidays fall on Thursdays or Fridays, recycling is generally waived and resumes the following week. Recycling is usually waived at least once over the winter holiday break. The best (and fastest) way to find out if your building’s schedule has changed is to talk to a member of your custodial crew.

  • The custodial crew should be picking up the little waste bins that are in individual offices but may be missing bins within offices that are locked or have their doors closed. If you would like someone to empty your recycling bin without accessing your personal office, you may always place the bin outside of your office in the hallway.

  • Recycling and Waste Management will pick up empty toner cartridges from your office. Please save the original boxes from the cartridges and place the empty cartridge back inside to avoid messes. Call Recycling and Waste Management once you have collected at least 5 cartridges at 801-581-7200.

  • Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) is responsible for recycling both batteries and containers that have held chemicals or hazardous materials. To have materials picked up, you must request a Lab Management System (LMS) account and go through a hazardous materials pickup training. The training is to ensure that you prepare containers and materials for pickup in ways that protect you and any others handling the materials. Please note that pickups can take up to 10 business days.

  • For any electronic devices that are University of Utah property, you must contact Surplus and Salvage(801.581.7917) for instructions on retiring the device. For personal property, you may drop off electronics at one of the annual electronics recycling events on campus or go to a recycling kiosk at Best Buy.

  • While Facilities Management, the Recycling Coordinator, and the Office of Sustainability strongly encourage people to compost, the University of Utah does not currently have the resources or space to enact a campus-wide composting program. Many people compost in their offices as part of their Green Team activities and will trade off bringing compostable materials home to personal bins. Talk to your Green Team coordinator to learn more about ongoing composting efforts. Don’t have a Green Team? Learn how to start one here!

  • University Archives and Records Management is responsible for shredding important and/or sensitive documents. They may be reached at 801.581.8242.

Medical Waste Frequently Asked Questions

  • EHS supplies building custodians with a large stock of broken glass boxes. You can request individual broken glass boxes from your building’s custodian and ask for them to be collected when full by taping the box closed, placing it next to your custodian-serviced regular trash bin, and leaving a note, such as “full, please dispose and provide new box.”

    Items that can be put in broken glass boxes include any broken glass laboratory containers with minimal residue without biological contamination, plastic pipette tips and glass slides that do not contain biological contamination, and broken, defaced empty chemical containers that are not listed on the EPA-provided P-List.

  • EHS does not collect E-waste or old appliances. These items are collected by and disposed of with University Surplus, this includes wooden pallets. For refrigerators, contact your EHS Lab Safety Specialist to guide you on the disposal process. However, you can request EHS pickup for lithium batteries removed from old electronics, such as computer and cell phone batteries.

  • Collect items in a clear plastic bag and submit as Chemical Waste in the SAM System once ready for pickup. Minorly soiled materials can go into the regular trash. If biological contamination is present, make sure to dispose of materials in a red or grey biological waste container with a red bio bag.

  • All razor blades and needles, biologically contaminated or not, must go into a sharps container. If you only have a biological red sharps container but razor blades are not biologically contaminated, they still must be disposed of in red sharps container.
  • The EHS Hazardous Waste group only collects cylinders that do not belong to the University. First, check your cylinder for a small University barcode and if found, dispose of cylinder with University General Stores. If no University barcode is present, you can submit a request as Chemical-Used or Unused in the SAM System to have the cylinder collected by EHS Waste Technicians.

  • EHS can collect non-DEA regulated medications and pharmaceuticals from Hospitals and Research groups. DEA Regulated drugs can not be collected by EHS unless rendered irretrievable. Contact EHS for further information on disposal processes.

Have more questions about recycling and waste management on campus?
Contact Joshua James with any questions at