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by Mog, Justin last modified Nov 24, 2015 03:02 PM

Recycling at UofL is comprehensive and easy...but it depends on your cooperation!


In 2013, UofL reduced its total annual waste generation by over 886,000 pounds (a 10% reduction from 2012) and we recycled nearly 4.5 million pounds (57.4%) of our waste.
Trash Mob Flash Mob!

Our goal is to continually reduce the amount of waste we generate and send to the landfill. You can help by:

  1. Reducing - avoiding unnecessary purchases, resource consumption, and excess packaging.
  2. Reusing - swaping surplus property and choosing reusable items (mugs, bottles, cloth bags & napkins, rechargeable batteries, etc.)
  3. Recycling - all of the items listed below!
Acceptable Items in Single-Stream

Single Stream Recycling

  • Any recycling bin on all three UofL campuses can be used to recycle all types of paper, cardboard, plastics, metals, and glass.
  • It doesn't matter what color, number, or how clean or empty your item is. If you think it might be recyclable, please put it in one of our single-stream bins. Small amounts of contamination will be sorted out.
  • Learn more about UofL's Single Stream Recycling program which has been in place since 2010.
  • Physical Plant launches Recycling 2.0 (UofL Today, June 26, 2014)

Electronic Waste Recycling

  • UofL's E-Waste recycling program is currently accepting only departmental items, though we hope to offer personal e-scrap recycling soon. It is handled by UofL Surplus (1901 S Floyd St.).
  • We can recycle any electronic consumer items, including: all computers, monitors, televisions, printers, copiers, scanners, servers, networking equipment, fax machines, telephones and cellphones, RAM/memory, hard drives, battery backups, and peripherals such as keyboards, mice, speakers, AC adapters, and mixed computer cables/wires.
  • As of November 2015, all these E-Scrap items are recycled by PowerHouse Recycling in Salisbury, NC. Their goal is to be a zero landfill facility. UofL pays no shipping costs and receives a modest per-pound payment for most items. UofL pays per-pound to recycle non-flat screen TVs and CRT monitors.
  • Watch a video of what happens to your E-waste when you recycle it at UofL!
  • Surplus also accepts from UofL departments only CDs, VHS tapes, audio cassettes, floppy disks and DVDs for recycling. These items must be sent to the warehouse without cases or sleeves. Do not send electronic media that contains sensitive or University proprietary information. Refer to Information Security Office policy IS PS016 for the proper disposal method of electronic media containing sensitive information.
  • All these items contain toxins and reusable components which should be kept out of the normal waste stream.
  • Here's how to get items picked-up for recycling:
    Step 1: One of the following forms must be completed for the e-scrap item(s) to be picked up. All forms are located at the Inventory Control/Surplus Property website:
    1. A pick-up request for computer hard-drives and laptop computers must be submitted using the “Computing Device Surplus Certification” form.
    2. All other electronic items with a UofL Property tag bar-code must be submitted on a “TRANOVER” form (regardless of value).
    3. All other electronic items valued over $1000 must be submitted on a “TRANOVER” form.
    4. All other electronic items valued under $1000 should be submitted on a “TRANUND” form.
    Step 2: After your form has been submitted on-line and has been reviewed by the appropriate department, Physical Plant personnel will come to your location and pick up designated items for reuse or recycling.
Got personal stuff to recycle? Learn what can be recycled off-campus in Louisville, including electronic waste!
  • UofL also has a Printer Cartridge Recycling program for departments. Simply contact the Stockroom at 852-5890 to obtain a cartridge collection
    container and then alert Stockroom personnel when the collection container needs to be emptied. Pickup will be made as regular deliveries from Central Receiving are made in your area.

Battery Recycling

  1. Alkaline (A, AA, AAA, C, D, 9-volt)
  2. Lithium hydride, sealed (Li)
  3. Nickel-cadmium, sealed (Ni-Cad)
  4. Nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH)
  5. Lead-acid, wet-celled (vehicle and golf cart type)
  6. Lead batteries, sealed (Pb)
  7. Mercury (Hg)
DEHS takes campus recycling to the next level
DEHS provides buckets for battery recycling collections.
Learn what happens to those batteries here:
  • DEHS offers departments green buckets to collect batteries for recycling and over 50 green buckets have been placed at various departments throughout Belknap, HSC, and Shelby campuses. When the battery recycling container is near full, University personnel can submit a pick up request on-line.
  • Look for battery collection buckets in these locations:
    Belknap campus:
       All UofL Housing front desks
       Ekstrom Library
       Strickler Hall (REACH Rm 126)
       Physics, Dept office
       Biology, Dept office
       Chemistry, Dept office
       SAC – 3rd Floor Facilities office
       Education, Dept office
       Music, Dept office
       Urban & Public Affairs, Mailroom
       JB Speed, Rooms B-15, 207 and 221)
       Sackett Hall, Rm 108 
    Health Sciences Center:
       Library Commons – RSO office
       Abel Admin – Dept office (3rd fl)
       SPHIS -  Admin Office (2nd Fl)
       RRC – RRC admin office
    Shelby campus:
       Burhans Hall -  KPPC
       Founders Union – Delphi Center admin office
  • New for Fall 2012: On-site battery recycling is now available through University housing! Students living in Bettie Johnson Hall, Community Park, Center Hall, Kurz Hall, Louisville Hall, Medical-Dental Apartments, Miller Hall, Threlkeld Hall, Unitas Tower, University Tower Apartments, Wellness Hall, and West Hall will be able to drop off their used batteries at the housing Front Desk for recycling.
  • Recycling tip: “Reduce, Recharge, and then Recycle!” Whenever possible use rechargeable batteries. The best rechargeable batteries are the “low self-discharge” Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) cells. These low-discharge batteries have a lot going for them: they come fully charged (like alkaline batteries), and they can hold their charge over many months. Because they can hold their charge for so long, they are suitable for low-drain devices like remote controls and flashlights.
  • Since 2009, UofL has been a participant in a nation-wide program called Call2Recycle. Founded in 1994, Call2Recycle is a non-profit that collects and recycles batteries at no cost. Most of UofL's waste rechargeable batteries such as Nickel-Cadmiun, Nickel-Metal hydride, Li-Ion, and small sealed-lead acid batteries (<1 lb) are recycled through this program. Find out what happens to your batteries here.

Lighting: Lamp bulb/tube Recycling

  • Fluorescent light tubes and compact lamps contain a small amount of mercury. Recycling is the only responsible method of handling lighting waste. Fluorescent lamps are recycled for their mercury (Hg) content and comprehensive recyclers can also recover other metals, soda glass and phosphor powder from fluorescent bulbs.
  • The Department of Environmental Health & Safety (DEHS) manages the collection and recycling of lamps for the University.
  • Basic instructions for recycling lighting at UofL. The lighting wastes included in this program include:UofL - THINK GREEN
  1. Fluorescent light tubes
  2. Compact fluorescent bulbs, including U-tube and circular
  3. High-intensity discharge (HID) lamps, such as high pressure sodium and mercury vapor
  4. Ultra-violet (UV) lamps
  5. Halogen and xenon lamps
  • Physical Plant personnel collect and transport these spent lighting wastes generated from routine service and maintenance operations to several designated DEHS managed accumulation sites.
  • University departments can submit a pick up request on-line.
  • New Fall 2012: On-site compact fluorescent lamp recycling is now available through University housing! Students living in Center Hall, Louisville Hall, Medical-Dental Apartments, Miller Hall, Threlkeld Hall, Unitas Tower, University Tower Apartments, Wellness Hall, and West Hall will be able to drop off their used lamps at the housing Front Desk for recycling.

  • It is very important to place the used bulb in a bulb box to prevent breakage and mercury leakage. If the original box is not available, students can request a foam pouch at the Front Desk.

  • DEHS also collects other items which contain mercury, such as thermometers, tilt sensors, temperature switches, barometers, manometers, and thermostat probes.

How to Recycle Other Items

In partnership with the Louisville Biodiesel Cooperative and Kelley Green Biofuel, UofL has been collecting used cooking oil from our dining facilities and converting it locally into low-carbon-footprint, renewable fuel since 2011. Check out the details of the project here.
While replacing the fields at Papa Johns' Cardinal Stadium and Patterson baseball stadium in 2013, UofL recycled 226,000sf (123,470 lbs) of synthetic turf and reused 1.65 million lbs of sand & rubber infill! Read more.
  • Printer Cartridges
  • Chemicals
  • Cell Phones
  • Styrofoam - Clean, white, bagged Molded Polystyrene (e.g. packing material for computers, appliances, fragile items, etc. - does not include packing peanuts) can be dropped-off free at: Foam Fabricators, 950 Progress Boulevard, New Albany, IN 47150. 812-948-1696

Request a recycling pickup at your location. Get all the details on Physical Plant's recycling operations here.


For questions regarding recycling of toxins such as batteries, chemicals, and light tubes, please contact the Hazardous Waste Coordinator, Cathy Price (Dept. of Environmental Health & Safety) at 502-852-2956.

For all other recycling inquiries please contact UofL's recycling coordinator, Greg Schetler (Physical Plant) at 502-387-0707.


  • You can compost your own food scraps on campus in bins at the:
    - Garden Commons (4 rolling compost bins next to the greenhouse behind the Cultural Center)
    - Horticulture Zone garden behind the Urban Studies Institute at 426 W. Bloom St. (behind Bettie Johnson Hall).
  • Special collection bins for plant-based materials picked-up for composting by EcoReps volunteers are available at:
    - Louisville Hall (1st floor trash room)
    - Miller Hall (outside the north exit at the back of the building)
    - The Playhouse (Theatre Arts)
    - Cardinal Park (Athletics)
  • No meat, bones, or dairy products are accepted in any of these on-site composting bins. This helps reduce problems with odors and vermin.
  • Please contribute any plant-based wastes such as coffee grounds, tea bags, fruit peels, vegetable scraps, bread waste, leaves, paper towels, paper plates, paper napkins, shredded newspapers & cardboard, etc.


UofL Free Store logo
Sustainability at UofL: GRASS develops Free Store (The Louisville Cardinal, 4/3/13)
  • In Fall 2013, student volunteers opened a permanent Free Store for on-going exchange of clean, durable items like clothing, electronics, school supplies, furniture, and more. The store is open to all UofL students and employees set hours each week in the basement of Unitas Hall (enter from Cardinal Blvd near Brook Street). Volunteers wanted! Follow the Free Store on Facebook.
  • During Move-Out Time, UofL residents are also encouraged to exchange reusable items through the "Give and Go" or  "Lighten Your Load" collections and associated temporary Free Stores hosted at the end of the year by Housing & Residence Life. Look for signs and collection bins as you think about moving out!
  • Prior to the opening of the UofL Free Store, roughly 2000 pounds/year of used clothes and shoes were collected from 2012-14 in light green bins set up by a non-profit organization at Miller Hall, Threlkeld Hall, Kurz Hall, Unitas Hall, and University Tower Apartments. The Gaia Movement is a non-profit organization which uses revenue from used clothing to support and on‐going environmental and community development projects around the world. Clothes collected at UofL helped fund efforts including a solar power project in Quissanga District in Mozambique; a biogas project in Capo Delgado Province, Mozambique; a solar power project in Changalane District, Mozambique; and the Seeds for Life project in India.

UofL Recycling StatisticsGraph - UofL Landfill Diversion Rate 2005-14Graph - UofL Solid Waste Generation 2005-14

UofL Solid Waste & Recycling Annual Trends

 Year Total Waste Generated (lbs.) Waste Landfilled (lbs.)
Waste Recycled (lbs.) Percent Diverted from Landfill
8,279,199 3,670,892 4,608,307 55.7%
2010 9,127,127 5,187,719
3,939,408 43.2%
2009 9,594,815 5,299,280 4,295,535 44.8%
2008 8,011,387 4,461,220 3,550,167 44.3%
2007 6,796,580 4,653,180 2,143,400 31.5%
2006 6,180,709 4,371,380 1,809,329 29.3%
2005 5,841,672 4,005,444 1,836,228 31.4%

*2012 & 2013 figures include coal ash recycled. The primary cause for a the 2011 drop in landfill diversion was an unusually high percentage of construction debris in our waste stream.

UofL Annual Recycling Totals

Compost 360,000 591,393

Paper 811,720 737,780

Cardboard 778,505 998,780

Scrap Metal 805,518 591,581

52,055 75,980

Electronics 98,953 74,583

Aluminum 12,500 19,208

(Number of) Lamps/Bulbs
103,620 48,141

Glass 29,840 14,740

Batteries 22,941 4,855

(Number of) Printer Cartridges
3,024 2,743

Light Ballasts 140,137 37,450

Tires 2,000 900

Waste Petroleum Products 3,115 1,832

Cooking Oil no data no data
no data no data 15,692
Wood no data no data
no data no data 125,940
Gypsum no data no data
no data no data 49,000
Concrete no data no data
no data no data 118,800
TOTAL RECYCLED 3,939,408 3,199,966

RecycleMania! RecycleMania 2015

UofL competes annually in RecycleMania, a friendly 8-week spring competition among university recycling programs to reduce waste, increase recycling and raise conservation awareness across campus! Thanks to all the RecycleManiacs at UofL who have helped us finish stronger each year in the RecycleMania competition!

  • Help the Cards to victory by avoiding disposables (bring your own mug, bottle, plate, etc.) and fully utilizing UofL’s amazingly easy, single-stream recycling system that lets you recycle everything in the same bin: all types of plastic, paper, cardboard, metal, and glass! Details on what you can recycle at UofL here.
  • Join the fun and log your actions to win at
  • Keep up with the Cards progress at the RecycleMania website. UofL competes in the Competition Division for the following categories: Grand Champion; Per Capita Classic; Gorilla Prize; Targeted Materials (Paper, Cardboard, Cans & Bottles, and Food Service Organics); and Waste Minimization!


RecycleMania 2015 Results:

  • In the Grand Champion category, UofL was #1 in the state and 15th out of 232 nationally, with an overall Recycling Rate of 63.5% during the 8-week competition from February 1st to March 28th, 2015.
  • UofL also landed the top rank in Kentucky for the Gorilla Prize, having recycled at total of 245,859 lbs, or 7.2 lbs/person (Per Capita Classic).
  • The Cards also did a whole lot composting, keeping 2.7 lbs/person of food waste out of the landfills (ranking us 2nd in Kentucky behind Berea College).
  • All together, this translates to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 258 Metric Tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (or the same as taking 51 cars off the road, or the energy consumption of 22 households).
RecycleMania 2014 Results:
  • In the Grand Champion category, UofL was second in the state (behind JCTC) and 116th out of 256 nationally, with an overall Recycling Rate of 29.7% during the 8-week competition from February 2nd to March 29th, 2014.
  • UofL recycled at total of 101,332 lbs (taking 1st place in the state for the Gorilla Prize), or 5 lbs/person (Per Capita Classic).
  • That translates to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 142 Metric Tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (or the same as taking 28 cars off the road, or the energy consumption of 12 households).
RecycleMania 2013 Results:
  • In Waste Minimization, UofL finished first in the state and 20th out of 168 nationally, with a total waste generation of 14.655 lbs/person.
  • In the Grand Champion category, UofL was second in the state (behind JCTC) and 37th out of 274 nationally, with an overall Recycling Rate of 48.87% during the 8-week competition from February 3rd to March 30th, 2013.
  • UofL recycled at total of 144,766 lbs (taking 1st place in the state for the Gorilla Prize), or 7.16 lbs/person (Per Capita Classic).
  • This total includes 3.49 lbs/person of Paper, 2.15 lbs/person of Cardboard, 1.52 lbs/person of Bottles & Cans, and 2.73 lbs/person of Food Service Organics.
  • That translates to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 335 Metric Tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (or the same as taking 66 cars off the road, or the energy consumption of 29 households).
RecycleMania 2012 Results:
  • From February 5th to April 5th, 2012 UofL competed with 605 colleges and universities across the continent and recycled 174,864 pounds of waste, or 7.17 pounds/person.
  • That translates to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 116 Metric Tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (or the same as keeping 62 cars off the road, or the energy consumption of 31 households).
  • UofL finished 43rd in the competition for waste minimization, reducing our trash by 21.39 pounds/person.
  • We finished 69th in terms of Corrugated Cardboard, recycling 4.81 pounds of cardboard/person; and 109th in Food Service Organics, composting 0.49 pounds of organics/person.
  • UofL achieved a weekly recycling rate of 33.51% (98th).
  • See UofL's full results for 2012.
RecycleMania 2011 Results:
  • During RecycleMania 2011, UofL recycled 241,782 pounds of waste, or 10.91 pounds/person, with a recycling rate of over 36%...beating the University of Kentucky in 4 out of 7 categories!
Check out our hilarious RecycleMania Cardinal Cam Video!
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