Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about Recycling

Why should I recycle?
Our earth is energetically limitless, as in it has consistent, renewable forms of energy (solar, wind, etc.). However, our planet is materially confined and limited; once we use up our materials (iron, tin, coal, etc.) they are gone for the rest of our lives. Recycling ensures that the materials we consume are used to the fullest extent and completes it's circle of life so that we may maintain our standard of living.

I feel awful when I throw away items that used to be recyclable. Are you sure I should put them in the trash?
We know it can be hard to throw out things that we used to be able to place in our recycle bin! Know that you are making the right choice when you keep those materials out of the recycling, as it helps us clean up our recycling and ensure that the materials that do have markets can be properly recycled. Aside from exploring options that reduce or reuse waste, such materials do need to be placed in the trash.

Do you recycle ____?
To see a full list of everything that can be recycled at OSU and instructions on how to do so, please visit our Recycle Guide main page.

How much is recycled at OSU?
See the most current statistics on how much the university is recycling on the about page.

What plastic is recyclable?
Previously, we were able to accept certain kinds of rigid plastic on campus. Please visit our Recycle Guide main page to see our updated guidelines on what is now acceptable.

What does the triangle on plastic items mean?
The triangle on plastic shows what type of plastic resin the item is made of. It DOES NOT determine whether the item is recyclable or not. Please use the shape of the plastic to determine if it is able to be recycled. Please visit our Bottles and Cans Recycling Guide for further details on what plastic is recyclable.

Why are cups not accepted in the recycling?
Paper (coffee) cups are not accepted because they are both contaminated with food residue and they have a plastic lining on the inside. While there are some special cases for mixed materials being recyclable (see our Bottles and Cans recycling guide), the paper is still contaminated and therefore not recyclable.

For plastic cups and lids, these are not accepted because they do not fall into the categories we currently accept for plastics (bottles & jugs). Please visit our Bottles & Cans Recycling Guide for further details on what plastic is recyclable.

Is shredded paper accepted?
While previously accepted in "Paper" bins, shredded paper is no longer accepted in standard bins on campus. It is, however, recyclable if collected separately. Please visit our special recyclables page for more information.

I need to recycle confidential material, what do I do?
Campus Recycling can collect and destroy confidential materials; consult our Confidential Materials Destruction page for more info.

Where do I take cardboard for recycling and how can I dispose of pizza boxes?
Around campus, flattened corrugated cardboard is recycled in cardboard cages, outside your building, typically next to your trash dumpster(s). Please remove all contents and plastic. See more about cardboard recycling here. EMPTY pizza boxes are only OK if not contaminated with food. Small amounts of oil are OK. Portions of cardboard saturated with oil may be torn off from the rest and either composted or trashed.

How do I recycle Styrofoam?
We are able to collect certain Styrofoam in some cases; please view our special recyclables page and/or contact us to discuss details and options. Additionally, we do accept packaging peanuts to be reused (box/bag them, write "recycle" & place next to a regularly serviced recycle bin). 

How do I recycle my batteries?
Based on EPA and DEQ guidelines, batteries require special handling as a potential hazardous waste, and therefore are collected by Environmental Health and Safety, not Campus Recycling. Battery collection bins are located across campus, including in the Valley Library as well as UHDS service centers (McNary, Arnold and Marketplace West).
*If you have a large quantity, box/bag them and request pickup using the EHS online hazardous waste pickup request form. For more information, please contact Pete Schoonover via email or call 737-3127.

What can I recycle off campus?
What's recyclable changes state by state and even by county. Corvallis and it's neighboring towns are serviced by Republic, who offers a curbside guide. More detailed information can be found on Republic's website. Corvallis also has the First Alternative Natural Foods Co-ops in two locations, which offer another recycling depot that accepts some of the same items as Republic but also takes some unique materials. 

Questions about Compost

Do we compost at OSU?
Yes! Campus Recycling offers options to departments, which can be viewed on our Department Compost page.

Where does compost go?
Food scraps go to the Pacific Region Compost Facility, about 12 miles north of campus, where it is combined with yard debris from the Willamette Valley and processed into compost within 60-90 days. Learn more about the facility and cycle in this video. Landscape debris, on the other hand, is chipped and reapplied as mulch on campus.

Why is "compostable plastic" serving ware not accepted in compost bins?
Republic Services, who manages the Pacific Region Compost Facility (where OSU’s food waste goes), implemented a new policy on January 1, 2017 that prohibits these items. These materials were originally accepted but were not in fact breaking down, resulting in contaminated compost and the landfilling of material from the compost facility. Learn more about the policy here

Why don't we compost more?
Select residence halls also have composting options available and many dining facilities on campus compost kitchen prep scraps and leftovers. We do not currently offer public area compost bins due to the many difficulties accompanying composting like smell and pests (requiring frequent collection), and the risk of contamination.

Questions about Pick-Ups and Bins

Where is the nearest recycle bin?
Campus Recycling has thousands of pickup locations distributed amongst all buildings on campus. To find the location nearest you, check our Locations & Schedule link. Additionally, Campus Recycling has approximately 60 exterior Walkway Recycling containers for use by pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

How can I request additional bins or signage?
To request additional bins, use our online service request form. Select which bin is needed and select the "drop off" option in the drop-down menu. Additional signage requests are currently being updated and a downloadable link will soon be available.

Where can I get a compost bin?
To request composting for your department, see our Department Compost page.

How can I get my recyclables picked up?
Standard recycle bins for paper and containers (a.k.a. bottles and cans) are usually serviced once per week, depending on the building schedule. Find out when we'll be in your building here. If you have special materials or need additional bins, please use our online service request form to request pick-up. We will fulfill your request the next time we visit your building, or sooner if you indicate on the form that your request is urgent.

My recycle bin is overflowing. What should I do?
If your bin must be serviced immediately (i.e. cannot wait until your next service day), please use the online service request form to request pick-up. To prevent future overflow problems, please assist us in determining the reason for the overflow. If your bin is overflowing because you temporarily have additional recycling (e.g. clean-out project), the same online service request form can be used to request larger carts to suit your needs. Other reasons may be that the recycling bin is not on our route, it is located in a locked room inaccessible to our crew or the building needs more recycling locations. Contact us to discuss options and we'll find a solution together.

When will my building be serviced?
Visit the Locations & Schedule page to see where bins are located and when we visit your building. We service each building either every-other-week or once per week, depending on volume.

I am cleaning out my office, can you pick-up my paper more often?
While in most cases we are not able to pick-up more frequently, we are able to provide temporarily placed larger bins for clean-out projects. We can loan you one or more large carts, drop off extra bags, or, if none of these options work for you, we can do a special pickup. Please use our online service request form to request additional bins or a pickup.


If you have questions not answered above, please contact us.