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What is mixed recycling?

Single stream or mixed recycling means that all recyclables can be placed into the same bin. Paper, metal, cardboard, and plastic can all be placed into the bin with the blue label that reads "Mixed Recycling". Mixed recycling increases the rate at which individuals recycle because it is easier than ever before!

What can be recycled?
Anything that is put into the recycling bin must be clean and dry. No liquids can be put into the recycling. Paper, cardboard, plastic, and metal can all be put into the same bin as long as they are clean and dry. Grease from food or leftover coffee will soil any paper products that could have been recycled.


Office paper: including white, colored and glossy paper (even with staples in it)

Magazines and catalogs

Envelopes (even with plastic windows)

Phone books

Clean paper bags

Empty coffee cups with the plastic lid

Clean paper plates

Not Recyclable: 

Paper towels

Soiled paper plates or to-go boxes with food on or inside

Waxy paper plates


Dirty or soiled items

Most paper that cannot be recycled CAN be composted



All corrugated and non-corrugated cardboard boxes (please break down boxes)

Juice or milk cartons

Tops of pizza boxes, clean of food waste

Frozen food paper boxes

Paperboard boxes like a cereal box

Not Recyclable:

Greasy pizza box bottoms- These can be composted 



Cans (before recycling, empty out the contents/liquid)

Aluminum foil products (including clean aluminum to-go containers)

Empty food and beverage containers


Not Recyclable:

Other metal (e.g. coat hangers, pans, random metal objects).

These items must be processed separately; submit a Maximo request if you have a large amount of metal to recycle.



Jars and bottles only (before recycling, empty out the contents/liquid). Any color of glass is accepted.

Not Recyclable: 


Broken glass

Lightbulbs (these go in the electronic waste bins)

Heat-resistant lab glass

Any type of glass that is not a jar or bottle



All clean rigid plastic (wipe or rinse out food waste)

Takeout containers

Yogurt cups

Plastic bottles

Not Recyclable:

To-go containers covered in food (rinse or wipe to recycle)

Filmy plastics (grocery bags, Ziplocs, and plastic wrap even if they have a recycling symbol on them)

Foil chip bags



Disposable gloves


Can plastic bags be recycled?
Plastic bags cannot be put into recycling bins around campus but, bags can be collected and recycled in bulk. Grocery stores will collect any bags that are returned and recycle when once they’ve collected enough.
How does Recycling work?

Recycling is a complex process and only starts when you put your recyclables into the bin. The recyclables are then taken to the Material Recovery Facility where materials are sorted by type. The sorted materials are then sold to producers who will make new products out of the recycled materials. Learn more about the recycling process. 

What is better than recycling?
You know what is better than recycling? Reducing! Reduce the amount of waste that you produce. The five Rs of environmentalism are: Refuse, Reuse, Reduce, Recycle, and Rot. Recycling and composting are the last two steps, it is always better to refuse disposable goods and to use what you already have before you recycle.
can plastic silverware be recycled?
Yes! Plastic silverware can and should be recycled as long as it is clean and dry.
Can my food container be recycled if it's dirty?
Dirty food containers cannot be recycled because they contaminate the recycling. If you clean the container, then it can be recycled!
What parts of a coffee cup can/cannot be recycled?
All parts of coffee cups can be recycled, as long as it is empty and clean!
Can pizza boxes be recycled?

Non-greasy parts of pizza boxes can be recycled! Separate the greasy side from the non-greasy side and then recycle the non-greasy side. The greasy side of the box can be thrown away or composted.
Check out this video on how to recycle a pizza box:

What kinds of plastic (hard vs. soft) can I recycle?

All hard plastics can be recycled. To determine if a plastic is hard, drop it and if it makes a noise then it is a hard plastic. Generally, all plastic wrapping and bags cannot be recycled while containers can be.


what should I do if I am not sure if something I recycle at home can be recycled at Tufts?

If you’re not sure what is recyclable at Tufts then first go to the recycling website and if it does not have the information that you’re looking for then you can email all questions to

Why aren't straws and plastic utensils recyclable?
Straws are not recyclable, but plastic utensils are! Straws are too small to be recycled and don’t make it through the recycling process.