Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Re-think


You can directly REDUCE your waste by:

  • reviewing your purchasing practices
    • do not purchase products that will quickly become waste
    • do not purchase products with excessive packaging or non-recyclable packaging
    • do purchase products with a high recyclable content e.g. paper
    • do purchase products close to “home” whenever possible
  • avoiding disposables
  • not printing your e-mails… or web-pages!
  • ordering fewer catalogues / request to not have physical catalogues sent to you
  • sharing with your neighbours – do they have that extra note pad you’re looking for?
  • being aware of your consumption


  • Use BOTH sides of every piece of paper. Scrap paper makes ideal note pads.
  • Instead of throwing out surplus equipment, supplies or furniture, send it to the SWAP SHOP.
  • Eat where they offer china service.
  • Lug a mug! – many coffee shops give discounts for using refillable containers.
  • Instead of a disposable cup, LUG-A-MUG!




Click here for information on what to do with batteries.




Recycling depots for recyclable containers are found inside and outside campus buildings. Acceptable items include: glass, plastic, and metal food and beverage containers; aluminum trays; household, plastic bottles; clear, formed plastic i.e. cups, trays & lids, food containers; milk and juice cartons (flattened); polystyrene cups, shells and lids.

Please remove excess food and liquids.

picture containers recycling

Don’t buy a bottle, REFILL!


All books may be sent to the Swap Shop for reuse. Small quantities can be recycled in blue toters. For large quantities call 946-5711.


Paper coffee cups can be recycled. Please place them in their designated compartments in recycling depots or dedicated containers. Paper sleeves can be recycled with paper. Polystyrene lids should be removed and placed with recyclable containers.
No Styrofoam! Please place with recyclable containers.

picture Paper coffee cups only

Instead of a disposable cup, LUG-A-MUG!


Please FLATTEN YOUR BOXES and place them in hallways or designated collection areas.


Functional items can be reused through the Swap Shop. Broken items can be picked up for recycling.  Nothing with a cord in the trash!

All software (i.e. floppy disks, CD’s) is also collected.

Departments require a work order for large amounts. Items may also be dropped off at the Swap Shop. Call 946-5711.


All types of films can be recycled. Call Waste management for a pickup at 946-5711.


All lights and tubes are collected by the caretaking staff and put out for proper recycling.


Usable items can be sent to the Swap Shop. Broken items may be recycled as scrap wood or metal. Call 946-5711 for an assessment.


FOOD WASTE – Pre-consumer food waste is collected from kitchens across campus. Post-consumer food waste is also collected from numerous locations on campus. Large amounts of food waste must NOT be land filled.

Green bins for post-consumer material can be found in kitchenettes across campus.

Green bins for public use are set up at cafeterias / food counters in a number of areas including:

  • Bahen Centre
  • Gerstein Library
  • Innis College
  • Koffler Multi-Faith Centre
  • Koffler Student Centre
  • Medical Sciences
  • O.I.S.E
  • Robarts
  • Rotman
  • Sidney Smith
  • Sylvester’s Cafe at Graduate Student Union
  • Woodsworth College


Please do not put garbage, polystyrene containers or regular plastic bags in the green bins.

organic waste guide
food waste composting sign


ANIMAL BEDDING – bedding is collected from a number of labs on campus and transported by our contractor to be composted off campus


Mixed paper —  copy, binder, computer, fax and fax paper, text books, newspapers, magazines, clean paper towels , clean napkins, clean tissue, empty paper bags, Bristol board, illustration board, boxboard (i.e. tissue, ink jet cartridge, cereal and snack boxes etc.) — is collected in five ways:

  • in large blue toters located in hallways (check list on toter lid for acceptable materials)
  • in blue boxes in work areas and labs
  • in blue desk-side recycling containers (you are requested to empty your own into a nearby toter or blue box)
  • in the 3- or 4-compartment depots located inside and outside buildings
  • in large, blue clean out toters – call 946-5711 to request


Foam packaging for shipping computers, equipment etc. should be placed in clear, plastic bags and left in designated collection areas. DO NOT RECYCLE WHMIS-LABELLED FOAM BOXES.


Fridges, freezers, centrifuges, icemachines, and other freon-containing equipment MUST be handled in accordance with Ministry of Environment guidelines. DO NOT REMOVE THE EQUIPMENT FROM THE BUILDING! DO NOT PLACE IN HALLWAYS! A service order must be completed to have Campus Moving  (978-0955) properly dispose of the equipment as well as cover any freon removal / disposal.

Before any equipment can be removed it must be free of all chemical, biological, radioactive or other hazardous materials and substances. A safety tag  (download here ) must be filled out and attached to each piece of equipment. Any equipment containing asbestos requires special disposal.


Laser, inkjet and photocopier cartridges should not be thrown away. Please do not dispose of ink and powder in the trash.

Many laser printer and photocopier cartridges have shipping labels included with them. Departments should return them to the manufacturer first. For items without labels, call Recycling at 946-5711 to arrange a pick up.

Please note that cartridges are not to be sent through Campus mail.


All casette and reel to reel tapes and cases are recyclable. Departments can call Recycling at 946-5711 to arrange a pick up.


Small amounts of acetate sheets used for overhead projections can be sent via campus mail to the Office of Waste Management, 487 Spadina Ave. Envelops only. Do not mail boxes or tubes. For larger amounts, call 946-5711. Please ensure they are not crumpled and that no paper separators are included.


Sort and stack items neatly in the area of building designated for such material. Please do not place materials out in shiping and receiving areas unless space is designated for that purpose.


The city has a wide range of services and programs available. Check their web site at



Did You Know?

Since 1991, the University’s faculty, students and staff have actively contributed to the program, making it one of the most comprehensive and successful of its kind across North America. The University of Toronto was the 1993 recipient of the Recycling Council of Ontario’s Waste Minimization Award for Best Institution.

For 2012 – 2013 we reached a record high diversion rate of 72% and have achieved 70% or better since 2011- 2012; one of the highest diversion rates of any North American university. In addition, our waste-to-landfill reduction from 1991 to 2011 reached 118%. This means that for this period, we have recycled more than we have thrown out.

In 2015 the University achieved Gold Status in the Recycling Council of Ontario’s (RCO)) 3R Certified program as well as winning gold in their annual awards.RCO Gold AwardThe University of Toronto has recycled enough paper to equal a forest the size of the entire downtown campus. The University of Toronto was one of the first universities in North America to adopt an Environmental Protection Policy.

If used to its fullest extent, U of T’s recycling could potentially cut the amount of the waste headed for the landfill by 80% or more. Take a second and think about what you’re about to throw in the trash. More likely than not, it’s recyclable or reusable.

Read the latest Facilities and Services Sustainability Report here:

Don’t just throw and go!

Take a second to ensure you are disposing of your material in the proper container.

 picture garbage landfill picture containers recycling
 picture Paper for recycling picture Paper coffee cups only


Don’t turn good recyclable material into trash by mixing in garbage.

Get Involved!

To become more involved with environmental issues at U of T, please contact any or all of the following groups:

Environmental Coordinators – Be the source of recycling and waste management information for your department! Co-Ordinators act as liaisons between their own offices, departments or faculties and the Office of Waste Management. Also, they facilitate the exchange of environmentally-related information to the campus community. Call 416-946-5711 or e-mail ( Reno Strano, Waste Management Supervisor to be added to the list.

The Sustainability Office  was created in 2004 to carry out the initiatives related to the University’s Environmental Protection Policy. Through the Office staff, students and Faculty are engaged in contributing towards a healthier campus.

Environmental Students Union (ENSU) is a student group that takes on different issues each year and represents students in environmentally related courses.

UTERN is the University of Toronto’s Environmental Resource Network, an umbrella organization that serves as the meeting point for everyone in the university community concerned about the health of our environment. UTERN encompasses all students at the University of Toronto including undergraduate and graduate students from all three campuses.

You can find other useful links here:


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