Campus Recycling


Accepted Recycling Materials at UW-Milwaukee

When it comes to recycling, just remember the core four: cardboard, paper, bottles, and cans! Recycling goes in the blue bins on campus.

  • Cardboard

    • Cardboard boxes (broken down and flattened)
    • Paperboard, such as cereal boxes (emptied)
  • Paper

    • Mixed paper and junk mail*
    • Newspapers, phone books, magazines and catalogs
  • Bottles

    • Plastic bottles (empty, lightly rinsed)
    • Glass bottles and jars (empty, lightly rinsed)
  • Cans

    • Tin cans, such as soup cans (empty, rinsed)
    • Soda cans and aluminum cans (empty)


Make sure to throw trash away!

By ensuring that trash goes in the trash can, you help keep our recycling clean! The following items are trash:

  1. Pizza boxes
    • Learn why: Pizza boxes are trash because the cardboard is contaminated with grease, cheese, and food. Level up: If the top of the pizza box is clean and does not have any grease, cheese, or food residue, you can rip off the top of the box to recycle. The rest of the box is still trash!
  2. Plastic mailing sleeves/plastic packaging
    • Level up: Opt for paper packaging when the option is available! Paper mailing envelopes are recyclable.
  3. Grind coffee cups – even if they are empty, they are trash!
    • Learn why: Coffee cups are trash because the paper cups are lined with plastic. Coffee cups also usually contain coffee, lattes, and other liquids which contaminate the rest of our recycling. To level up, remove the cardboard sleeve and recycle it – throw the cup and lid away!
  4. Food
    • Learn why: food is not recyclable in the blue bins as it contaminates the rest of our recycling. However, you can level up to composting! Look into our composting program, Panther Pails, if you want to reduce your food waste!
  5. Liquids
    • Learn why: Liquids ruin the rest of our good recycling. Never recycle any containers that have liquids in them and never dump liquid into a recycling bin.
  6. Cold beverage cups
    • Learn why: The liquid & ice in beverage cups contaminate recycling. The straw and lid are not recyclable. Level up: empty your beverage containers out into a sink and give them a rinse in order to recycle the plastic cup. The lid and straw are still trash.
  7. Plastic grocery bags or plastic zip bags
    • Learn why: plastic bags clog the machines used to process recycling. On campus, these items must be trash! There are drop-off locations in the area that will accept plastic bags for recycling. Check out this map for options!
  8. Plastic forks, knives, spoons, and straws
  9. Rubber gloves, latex gloves, and masks
  10. To-go containers with food in them
    • Learn why: Food and grease contaminate the recycling stream. If you have plastic to-go containers, you can empty and rinse them before recycling. Otherwise, they are trash.
  11. Styrofoam and packing peanuts
  12. Candy wrappers & chip bags
  13. Foam board for school projects
  14. Damaged clothing
    • Donate items in good condition!
  15. Damaged ceramic cups, plates, bowls.
    • Donate items in good condition!
  16. Damaged holiday decorations.
    • Donate items in good condition!

Questions about recycling on campus? Contact us at

Special Recycling Services for UWM Faculty & Staff

Bulk Paper & Book Recycling 

Cleaning out your office and have a large amount of paper, books, or other materials to recycle?  Please contact Ben Konitzer at for bulk recycling bins. This is a free service.

Confidential Paper Shredding

UWM offers a service for confidential paper shredding.  Paper is collected in secured containers, then taken off site for shredding and recycling.  Please fill out a request using the Facility Services iServiceDesk or Contact Environmental Services at (414) 229-6466 or