Skip Navigation


Crimson & Green, The University of Oklahoma website wordmark
Skip Side Navigation


Recycling Program Facts

  • 465 tons of material recycled
  • Avoided $24,000 in landfill fees
  • Generated $66,000 in program revenues

In terms of environmental benefits, diverting 465 tons of material from the landfill has the greenhouse gas benefit equivalent of 1,700 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents.  In terms of more comprehensible values, this would be the similar to:

  • Taking 380 passenger vehicles off of the road for one year.
  • Forego the burning of 1.9 million pounds of coal.
  • Planting 28,000 tree seedlings (grown for a period of ten years)
  • OR, preserving 2,000 acres of forest for 1 year.  

When a material is recycled, it is used in place of virgin inputs in the manufacturing process, rather than being disposed of and managed as waste.  As a result, recycling reduces emissions in two ways: (1) recycling offsets upstream emissions associated with raw material acquisition, the manufacture and transport of virgin inputs, and (2) it allows for the carbon stored in forests to remain sequestered (when wood and paper is recycled).

Accepted Materials & Signage

  • Aluminum
  • Steel
  • Tin
  • Plastic #1 - #7
  • White Paper
  • Mixed Paper
  • Newspaper
  • Paperboard
  • Cardboard

*Not accepted: glass, styrofoam or plastic film*

Signage for Recycling and Refuse Materials:

Before placing an item in your recycling bin, make sure that it is dry, empty and clear of food residue, etc.  Only recycle items listed as an accepted material.  "Wishful recycling" contaminates the recycling stream, can damage equipment and increases sorting costs.

Toner cartridges, rechargeable batteries, pallets and metals are also accepted but these items require special coordination. 

  • Toner cartridges of all types and sizes can be sent to the south campus recycling center through Central Mail.  Package your cartridge in a box or plastic bag and write "toner cartridge" on item.
  • Call (405) 325-8068 or email to coordinate for pallets, metals, and batteries (rechargeable, lithium, AED, etc.).  

It is the intent to respond to calls and emails regarding recycling inquiries within 5 business days.

Please note, files can be shredded and recycled upon request.  Locked toters are available to ensure materials are secure at all times.

Recycling Tips (pdf)

Where to Recycle

The Recycling and Refuse team strives to make the choice to recycle as easy as possible by providing bins all across campus, including in dormitories, offices, classrooms, hallways and along sidewalks.  Look for blue bins inside campus buildings, outdoor receptacles with blue lids along the sidewalks, and trailers across campus for cardboard/paperboard collection.  Everyone is responsible for taking materials from their desk-side recycling container to the larger, common area recycling receptacles.  Check the labeling on each receptacle to see which material(s) the bin accepts.  Remember to empty remaining liquids and food debris from items before recycling to keep contaminants out of the recycling stream.  Email to order additional recycling containers for your department.  

  • Adams, Couch, and Walker Centers have recycling containers in all of the trash rooms and cabinets in the lobby.  These containers are partitioned to accept paper, newspaper, aluminum, and plastic (#1-7). Cardboard should be broken down and deposited in the blue cardboard carts located in the basement.
  • David L Boren Hall has recycling containers on each wing just inside the entry doors, in addition to a recycling cabinet in the building's main lounge.
  • Headington Hall has recycling containers in the hallways, academic commons, and theatre.  These containers are partitioned to accept paper, newspaper, aluminum, and plastic (#1-7). Cardboard should be broken down and deposited in the trash rooms.
  • Residential Colleges have recycling cabinets on each floor of the residential spaces. The cabinets are slotted and labeled for paper, paper, aluminum and plastic.  Cardboard should be broken down and deposited in the trailer located on the south side of the property. 
  • Traditions East, Traditions West, and Kraettli Apartments each have recycling rolloffs which are partitioned to accept plastics #1-7, cardboard, and aluminum/metals.  Traditions East has two roll offs – one located near Building A, the other near Building E.  Traditions West also has two roll offs – one located near Building K, the other near Building O.  Kraettli has one roll off and it is located to the east of building 401. 

Employees are provided recycling containers for their paper, plastic and aluminum. When personal office recycling containers are full, empty the materials into the larger recycling containers within the department.  Check the labeling on each receptacle to see what materials the bin accepts.  Larger recycling containers are divided into two categories (1) one for paper (white paper, mixed paper, newspaper) and (2) the other for both plastics and metals (plastic #1-7 and aluminum).  If your larger recycling containers are not labeled as either “paper” or “aluminum,” decide as an office which bins you will designate as paper and which you will designate as aluminum, then be consistent with how you sort the materials.

These areas will have larger blue bins designated to accept either (1) paper (white paper, mixed paper, newspaper) or (2) plastics and metals (plastic #1-7 and aluminum).  Check the labeling on each receptacle to see what materials the bin accepts.

Outdoor pedestrian receptacles with blue dual purpose lids line campus sidewalks.  The containers accept plastic (#1-7) and aluminum.

A map of outdoor recycling receptacles can be viewed here.

Cardboard trailers accept broken down cardboard and paperboard (cereal boxes, milk boxes, toilet and paper towel rolls, etc).  The locations for cardboard trailers are as follows:

  • Rawls Engineering Practice Facility – loading dock, south side of building
  • Student Union – near the dumpster, north east side of building
  • Sarkeys Energy Center – east of building in the parking lot
  • OU Water Tower
  • The Chemistry Annex – near the dumpster, south side of building
  • Collings Hall – in the parking lot to the west of the building, near the dumpster
  • Gaylord – at loading dock, east side of building
  • Football Stadium – west side compactor
  • Cate Main – at the loading dock, west side of building near the Freight Farm
  • Couch Restaurants – at the loading dock, south side of building
  • McCarter Hall – north side of building
  • Stephenson Research –  at the loading dock, east side of building
  • 705 E Lindsey –  north side of building parking lot
  • Radar Innovations Lab - gated area
  • Sam Noble Museum – at the loading dock
  • Purchasing –  2750 Venture Dr, Norman, OK
  • Stephenson Life Sciences - east side of building
  • Residential Colleges – near dumpster on south side
  • North Campus - courtyard of Building 210
  • Cross - south of Cross C
  • Headington Hall - east side of building
  • Four Partners Place - NW side of building

For those who are living off campus and may not have the ability to recycle at their apartment or home, a recycling trailer can be accessed 24/7 at the south campus recycling center located at 525 Columbus Street.  The rolloff is partitioned to accept plastics #1-7, cardboard, and aluminum/metals.


Recycling first came to the University of Oklahoma campus in 1991.  In 1998, President David L. Boren directed a significant expansion of the program to include the collection of aluminum, plastic, newspaper and cardboard across campus. OU Recycling and Refuse was recognized by Oklahoma City Earth Day in 2000 and was given the Environmental Excellence Award. 

Located inside of campus buildings are containers lined with blue bags which are used to collect recyclable materials.  Buildings keep their recyclable materials separated by designating specific containers for specific materials.  For example, a building will designate one container for paper and another container for both plastic and aluminum.  When the bins are full, the custodial and housekeeping staff remove recycling from inside of the buildings and deposit the blue bags into the large plastic recycling toters which are located outside of the building.

The recycling and refuse team takes over from here.  The team collects recycling which has been deposited into the toters as well as what has collected in the pedestrian recycling bins (the bins located along the sidewalks across campus) and the cardboard trailers.

Once the recyclables are collected from the toters, pedestrian bins, and trailers, the recycling and refuse team transports the materials in an enclosed vehicle to the recycling facility on South Campus where the materials are hand sorted.  Paper is shredded, then the paper, aluminum, and plastics are baled.

OU Recycling Truck