GOAL: Divert 90% of Uf waste from landfills

The Facilities Services Recycling and Solid Waste Management Office manages the collection and disposal of all solid waste from University of Florida operations. We continually work toward better ways to reduce, reuse and recycle campus waste through sustainable practices.

This page is currently under construction and will feature more information in the near future. Check this page again soon! 

Recycling at UF

Recycle Right!

There are two things students, faculty, staff and campus visitors can do to help UF reach our 90% waste reduction goal:

  • Recycle everything that can be recycled on our campus.
  • Recycle the right way! Not all communities recycle the same way and a recycling symbol on an item does not always mean it can be recycled locally. UF, Gainesville and Alachua County use a “dual stream” recycling system, meaning paper/carboard products are collected separately from glass/metal/plastic.

Recycling faq

This section is currently under construction and will feature additional FAQs in the near future.

To continue towards our waste reduction goals, we need help from the entire UF community. Recycling is complex and requires an investment of time and effort to maximize the process. Review the FAQs below to assist you in understanding the recycling systems in place at UF and in the greater Gainesville community.

Is styrofoam recyclable?
No, styrofoam is unfortunately not recyclable. Please note that Florida Fresh Dining is styrofoam-free. UF’s Sustainable Procurement Directive also recommends that the campus community purchase products that will minimize negative impacts on society and the environment to the greatest extent possible.
What goes into the landfill bins?
Anything not specifically listed as recyclable! A saying you can use is: “If in doubt, throw it out.”

This is better for the recycling system than “wish-cycling.” Wish-cycling is the practice of putting items into the recycling bin with the hope or assumption that they are recyclable, even if they may not be accepted by the local recycling facility. It occurs when well-intentioned individuals make decisions based on their desire for an item to be recycled rather than adhering to the specific guidelines provided by their local recycling program.

When items that are not able to be accepted for recycling (a.k.a. contaminants) are placed in the recycling, it increases the cost of processing recyclables and can damage the sorting equipment. Contaminants also lower the quality of the recyclables, thus decreasing the market value of the recycled materials. 

Should plastic or glass bottle caps be removed prior to being recycled? Should I flatten soda cans?
Yes! Smaller lids, such as bottle caps and water bottle lids, should be removed and disposed of with your garbage. These bottle caps and lids are made of different materials that are not recyclable in our system and can jam the equipment.

Larger metal lids from glass jars can be rinsed off and placed back on once containers have been fully emptied.

Larger plastic lids from laundry detergent bottles and plastic tubs can be placed loose in the recycling bin.

There is no need to flatten any aluminum or plastic bottles or containers unless you’re trying to conserve space. 

Do I have to rinse out my recyclable contains before placing them in the bin?
It is best if you are able to rinse them out before recycling them. Please prioritize dumping out your containers before recycling them so staff does not have to deal with leaks and extra clean-up.
If the plastic that I am trying to recycle doesn't have a number on it, can I still recycle it?
It depends. Almost all plastic containers have a number inside of the classic chasing arrows recycling symbol.

However, the chasing arrows symbol with a number does not indicate that the material is actually recyclable in all systems – it’s merely an indicator of the type of plastic!

In Alachua County, the City of Gainesville, and on UF’s main campus, the following plastics are the only plastic items recyclable:

  • Plastic Bottles
  • Plastic Jugs (such as juice, milk, or detergent containers)
  • Plastic Tubs (such as yogurt, butter, or sour cream containers)