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Residence Hall Recycling

Residential Recycling Locations

What can be recycled on campus?

Vanderbilt accepts five major items through the main campus recycling program: paper, cardboard*, plastic, aluminum, and glass. A description of acceptable and non-acceptable items is listed below.

MaterialAcceptable Items for RecyclingUnacceptable Items for Recycling
Mixed PaperOffice paper (white and colored; staples and paper clips are okay), newspaper, magazines, journals, one-ply cardboard/paperboard (cereal boxes, 6-, 12-, or 24-pack beverage boxes, and other thin, non-corrugated cardboard), envelopes (window envelopes, paper clips, and staples are all okay), and tissue boxes. Anything contaminated with food, tissue paper, paper towels, cardboard tubes from bathroom tissue/paper towels, napkins, corrugated cardboard (packing boxes), anything coated in wax (e.g. orange juice cartons, ice cream cartons, milk cartons), laminated paper, carbon paper, the spiral of a spiral notebook, padded envelopes, paper or Styrofoam cups, and phone books**.
Aluminum & TinEmpty drink cans and clean food cans, aluminum foil, and pie tins.Aluminum or tin that is contaminated with food, liquids or trash and other metal items.
PlasticAll clean plastic containers.Containers contaminated with food or liquid, plastic bags, plastic film, lamination, wrappers, packing materials, Styrofoam.
Glass (Drop-Off Only)Glass jars and bottles. Drop-off at Peabody Recycling Center only. Look for the three glass containers next to the Plastic/Aluminum dumpster. It’s Okay to co-mingle your glass colors – the vendor we use has an optical sorter to get the colors sorted later. Any glass placed near or in residential or office recycling bins will not be recycled – it will be thrown away.Lids, bags, bulbs, beakers, windows, or any tempered glass.
Cardboard*Any corrugated cardboard (this is the thick cardboard made of two flat layers and a sandwiched spacing layer, e.g. packing boxes). Any cardboard that has been contaminated with food (e.g. pizza boxes). Any other corrugated item, like corrugated plastic. Packing materials (bubble wrap, peanuts).

REMEMBER: Depositing items into the bin that you wish were a part of our program does not bring about change, it renders the contents of that bin un-recyclable. Please sort all items into their proper bins, and if you are unsure whether an item is recyclable, or if you would like to suggest an item for recycling, hang on to it and ask us for guidance by email or at (615) 34-EARTH (343-2784).

*Any VU student or employee is welcome to use the Peabody Recycling Center behind the Commons Center to recycle their own area’s cardboard.

**One phone book in a recycling bin will not cause a problem. More than one will tear the bag, and make the bag too difficult to lift. Click here for more information about phone book recycling.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) can be recycled at 125 Bryan Building or 117 Peabody Maintenance Building. Locate these buildings on campus.

Students can recycle broken TVs, refrigerators, electronics, computer systems, microwaves, and other electronics by placing them at their residential recycling area. Students are responsible for wiping their own data from electronics prior to recycling.

Visit the Waste and Recycling page for information concerning the recycling of computers and electronics, batteries, ink and toner cartridges, pens and mechanical pencils, and phone books.

For more information, please contact Vanderbilt’s Recycling Coordinator.

Where are the recycling bins located?

Recycling bins are located outside of all residence halls and inside of academic, administrative, and student life buildings.

Residential Recycling Locations


Vanderbilt/BarnardBehind dumpster next to Kirkland Hall
Cole HallNext to dumpsters in the alley known as West Side Row
Carmichael Towers EastFirst floor lobby and on the loading dock
Carmichael Towers WestFirst floor lobby and on the loading dock
Mayfield PlaceBehind Mayfield Apartments near the parking garage
Morgan HouseBuilding entrance
Lewis HouseBuilding entrance
Chaffin PlaceBy the dumpsters
McTyeire HallBy the dumpster outside of the northeast wing of the building
Branscomb QuadrangleBy the dumpster near the Studio Arts building and the University Club parking lot
BlakemoreBy the building near the dumpster


Location 1Behind Zeta Beta Tau house – Behind dumpsters
Location 2Next to Lambda Chi Alpha house next to dumpster
Location 3Behind NPHC Fraternities house


All Houses at The Ingram Commons have recycling adjacent to the dumpster closest to the House.

Recycling bins are located inside nearly all classroom buildings, Sarratt Student Center, the Student Life Center, campus libraries, Kirkland Hall, the Student Recreation Center, and many other campus buildings. Remember to look for a recycling bin wherever you are before throwing a recyclable away!

How do I request a recycling bin for my room?

Students that wish to have a recycling bin in their room for collecting recyclables to take to their nearest residential recycling area may request one from their Area Maintenance Supervisor (Office of Housing and Residential Education).

Why is it important to recycle?

  • In 2009, US residents produced approximately 4.34 pounds of waste per person per day.1
  • Recycling aluminum cans saves 95% of the energy required to make the same amount of aluminum from its virgin source, bauxite.2
  • Every ton of paper that is recovered saves 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space3 – that’s the same space as 667 gallons of milk!
  • Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles in 2006. However, the U.S.’s recycling rate for plastic is only 23 percent, which means 38 billion water bottles — more than $1 billion worth of plastic — are wasted each year.4
  • Including the energy used for pumping and processing, transportation, and refrigeration, the annual fossil fuel footprint of bottled water consumption in the United States is over 50 million barrels of oil equivalent. That’s enough oil to fuel 3 million cars for 1 year.5
  • Recycling 1 aluminum can saves enough energy to keep a 100-watt bulb burning for almost 4 hours or run your television for 3 hours.6
  • Incinerating 10,000 tons of waste creates 1 job; landfilling 10,000 tons of waste creates 6 jobs; recycling 10,000 tons of waste creates 36 jobs.7


1U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 2010. “Facts and Figures for 2009.”
2U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 2008. “Common Wastes & Materials: Aluminum.”
3American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA). 2011. “Paper & the Environment.”
4Fishman, C. 2007. “Message in a Bottle.” Fast Company Magazine.
5Larsen, J. 2007. Earth Policy Institute. “BOTTLED WATER BOYCOTTS: Back-to-the-Tap Movement Gains Momentum.”
6Cummings, L. 2007. Earth 911. “Facts About Aluminum Recycling.”
7EPA, “Resource Conservation Challenge: Campaigning Against Waste,” EPA 530-F-02-033, 2002.

Who picks up the recycling?

Student workers pick up the recycling from the residential areas of campus.  Please recycle properly to help them stay on schedule.

Contact Information

If you have any questions about recycling, feel free to e-mail recycle@vanderbilt.edu.

How to Get More Involved!

If you are interested in becoming more involved with recycling, join SPEAR: Students Promoting Environmental Awareness and Responsibility!

SPEAR works to reduce Vanderbilt’s environmental impact, to raise awareness on campus of environmental issues such as resource use and energy efficiency, and to integrate sustainable practices into the habits and infrastructure of the University community.

SPEAR meetings are held biweekly.  For more information about meeting times, please visit the SPEAR web site!