About Campus Recycling

Campus Recycling is responsible for managing a comprehensive waste management system that focuses on reducing, reusing and recycling with disposal as a last resort. We are also actively engaged in outreach activities to involve the entire campus community in this mission.

Oregon State University has had some form of recycling on campus since 1970. Beginning as a student volunteer organization that gathered paper from a few buildings on campus, Campus Recycling now employs over 30 students (in conjunction with Surplus Property) and three full time employees who collect from all buildings on campus and process millions of pounds of recycling and compost per year (see below for the most up-to-date statistics).

Explore the menu links above and to the right to learn more about our program, services, and outreach activities.

Together Campus Recycling and Surplus Property make up a department called Materials Management, which is joined with Procurement and Contracts under the unit of Procurement, Contracts and Materials Management (PCMM).

Campus Waste Statistics

Below are the waste weight and recovery rate estimates from the 2019 fiscal year (FY19), July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019. These results do not include construction and demolition weights and are based on estimates.

Waste Stream Estimate
Recycled 825.7 tons
Composted 475.3 tons
Landfilled 2,057.2 tons
Recovery Rate* 38.7%

*Recovery rate is a calculation of the percent of waste that was recovered (recycling + compost) in proportion to the total amount of waste generated (recycling + compost + landfill).

In comparison, in the 2017 calendar year, the Oregon Dept. of Environmental Quality estimates that the statewide municipal recovery rate was 42.1% and Benton County's recovery rate was 34.5% (source). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that in the 2017 calendar year, the national municipal recovery rate was 35.2% (source).

Campus Recycling also estimates that the university reused at least 560 tons of material through the sale of surplus goods and collection of donations from residence halls at the end of the year in FY19, making its estimated recovery rate including reuse 47.5%.

All of these statistics demonstrate that the university is performing comparatively well but also has much room to grow in the areas of waste reduction, reuse, recycling and composting.