Recycling & Waste diversion efforts at ucf

Recycling:  

UCF uses single stream recycling, which means all recyclables can be placed into the same bin. Recycling bins are located throughout all building common areas, including UCF housing communities, and along outdoor walking paths throughout campus. 

UCF Recycles is run by Facilities Operations. See the information below from Facilities regarding recyclables: 

What We Recycle What We Don’t Recycle 
Cardboard (must be clean, no food stains/grease)  Napkins and paper towels  
Paper (books, magazines, newspaper, boxes, paper egg cartons, paper bags, beverage cartons, etc.)    Soiled paper and cardboard (NO greasy pizza boxes!) 
Hard plastic items labeled with recycling icon #1-7 (RINSED bottles, tubs, jugs, jars, etc.)  Glass bottles and jars
Metal (RINSED aluminum cans, metal lids, balled-up aluminum foil, aerosol cans)  Plastic bags, wrappers, and other soft plastic items
  Plastic cups and utensils 
  Styrofoam 
  Batteries, electronics, and lightbulbs  

*A Note about Contamination: If food or other contaminants cannot be removed from recyclable materials, then it must be placed in the trash. If you are unsure whether an item can be recycled, it is better to throw it in the trash than risk contaminating the recycling. “When in doubt, throw it out!”

*Please don’t bag your recyclables! 

Recycling guide for plastics #1-#7, showing plastic products, recycling symbols, and instructions for recyclable and non-recyclable items.

 

Additional Recycling Resources:

  • When on campus, consider recycling your plastic bottles and aluminum cans at a Coca-Cola Reverse Vending Machine! There are two RVM locations on campus: the Student Union (pictured below) and the John T. Washington Center/Breezeway. Coca-Cola donates 5 cents to Knight-Thon for each item recycled.  

A UCF Recycles machine for collecting empty plastic bottles and aluminum cans, with a slot for depositing items and a screen displaying instructions. The station promotes recycling and sustainability.

Source: UCF SG Instagram

  • Items that UCF is unable to recycle may be recycled via other means: 
    • Publix storefront recycling – there are Plastic, Paper, and Foam bins in front of most Publix stores. You can recycle soft plastics (e.g. plastic bags, plastic overwrap, cereal bags, air pillows, and cling wrap) and Styrofoam (e.g. egg cartons, takeout trays, and cups) there. Check their website for full details. 

Source: Publix Corporate

    • Municipal Recycling – You can also recycle with one of our local counties. Orange County and Seminole County, for instance, do recycle glass (which UCF does not). You could drop off recycling at one of their locations: Orange County Landfill, McLeod Road Transfer Station, Porter Transfer Station, Central Transfer Station, or Seminole County Landfill. 
    • Terracycle – Terracycle partners with many companies to offer free recycling programs for their products. Usually this involves printing out a free shipping label and sending in your products to be recycled. This is helpful for difficult-to-recycle items like cosmetics packaging, toothpaste and toothbrushes, lotion bottles, Brita filters, and much more! Check out their programs if you are interested.  

Variety of single-use and disposable items including a mask, razor, pen, toothbrush, plastic cup, snack wrappers, and coffee pods, arranged in a row against a white background.

Source: Terracycle

 

E-waste & Hazardous Waste:

Electronics contain a variety of harmful, and in some cases even toxic substances. Electronics, batteries, lightbulbs, chemicals, medications, and paints are all considered Household Hazardous Waste (HHW). They must be specially disposed of because they can pose risks to our health and the environment if they are discarded in landfills.

For recycling any UCF-owned electronics, visit UCF Surplus. For personal electronics recycling, please use the following resources: 

Medications may be disposed in the medical collection bin located in the Knights Mall hallway inside the Student Union (pictured below).

Green MedReturn drug collection unit with instructions and a warning sign. Text encourages depositing unwanted prescription drugs to protect children and water supply.

 

Compost:

In partnership with UCF Business Services, Dining Services, Aramark, Recycling Services, and O-Town Compost, the Arboretum & Sustainability Initiatives launched a back-of-house composting pilot program in Spring 2024 at 63 South! The hope is to expand the composting program to the other dining hall on campus, Knightro’s, and eventually the Student Union.

A compost table is available during Fall and Spring semesters on Market Wednesdays outside the Student Union for students to drop off their personal compost.

Three women stand near a UCF Arboretum information table with pamphlets. They are located next to a mural and a green waste container. One woman is pointing at the table while talking to the others.

Source: NSM Today

A composting guide listing acceptable items like food scraps and paper products, and non-acceptable items such as metals, plastics, and rubber. Contact info and website for additional resources included.

Source: O-Town Compost

 

Donations:

Are you about to move out or just looking to purge your closet? Make sure to donate rather than throw out your used (and in good condition) items so other people can enjoy them!

The Arboretum & Sustainability Initiatives has been hosting end-of-semester clothing drives that are free for students to attend and snag some free clothes! Keep an eye on our Instagram page, @ucfarboretum, for future announcements.

Clothes, unopened non-perishable food items, furniture and household items can be donated to Knights Pantry on campus for other students to pick up for free.

Additionally, the Orlando community offers many eco-friendly events and opportunities! Organizations such as IDEAS For Us organize clothing swap shops, and there are many thrift stores around such as Goodwill, Plato’s Closet, Omg! Thrift, Out of the Closet, and HOPE Helps – to name a few local options – that accept clothes, shoes, accessories, and more.