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Recycle & Compost

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle:

  • Reduce. Conserve resources by using, buying, and wasting less.
  • Re-Use. Choose reusable options instead of disposable items, everything from water bottles, coffee cups, shopping bags and more!

  • Recycle. Sort your recycling: learn what can be recycled, clean and empty your recyclables.

  • Compost. You can compost in the dining hall, Commons, or order compost bins for your events!


How to Sort your Waste:

Help UMBC go green by following the signs to sort your waste: reducing contamination in our bins, and reducing waste.

Outdoor recycling bins (black, metal, circular bins) accept all recyclables: paper, glass, cans and plastic.

Learn more, and request bins or labels for waste or recycling here:

Sorting Your Waste:

Click to view & print informational posters:

Information for each food stall in the Commons:

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What can we compost?

  • All Food Waste
    • All left over food, no oil or liquids.
  • Soiled Paper Products
    • used napkins, paper cups, paper plates etc.
  • Plant-based Packaging (see the full list)

Where can we compost?

  • University Center (ground floor by dining options)

Why Compost?

Composting allows food to decompose naturally into fertile soil. Otherwise, food waste decomposing in a landfill without oxygen would create methane, a problematic greenhouse gas contributing to climate change. Learn more at!

History: Collaboration and Coordination: Composting has been phased into food services since 2012, starting with the Dining hall, then the Commons- to allow time to collaboratively select, purchase, and install new user friendly bins, to become a standard across campus. We were able to start composting our food waste in 2012 thanks to the efforts of SGA Sustainability Intern Madeline Hall (featured in the composting video below), our dining provider Chartwells, contract coordinators Campus Card, our green housekeeping group, and the company who picks up our compost and returns the
decomposed food as fertile soil, Waste Neutral

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Zero Waste Events: Choose compostable dishware and flatware (rather than plastic) for your next event and request a portable compost bin and pick up service through events services if you are a student group or work control if you are a department!  The new SGA Green Paws fund allows student organizations to acquire plant based compostable materials at no additional cost. Learn more about planning green events:



By collecting clean, dry paper separately, paper gets new life and earns the recycling program funds! Desktop paper recycling bins are available through Facilities Management 

Paper Shredding:

We also provide a central service for bulk paper shredding.

Plastic, Glass and Aluminum:

For bottles, you may leave on the lids, wrappers and labels. Please empty of liquids.

Other Recyclables:

Give your bulk items such as furniture and electronics new life with our donation program.  Contact Facilities Management:

Electronics recycling: Facilities Management holds popular E-cycling drives each semester.  In fact, Baltimore County requires we recycle e-waste to protect landfills or incinerators, as the toxic materials contaminate our ground, water and air. While you save yourself from clutter, we all save energy, waste, and costs on campus!Slide20

Reduce & Reuse: Retrieve Waste

  • Learn how to update your printer settings to double sided!
  • Let’s skip the disposable cups and bottles- instead let’s bring our own to save money and waste!
  • We get discounts at the register for refilling our own coffee mug on campus
  • If we’re just going to toss that plastic bags & waxy receipt, we can let the cashier know we don’t need one.
  • We can donate bulk items such as furniture through Facilities Management