Waste, Recycling & Composting at UNH

Recommitting to Recycling at UNH-Durham 

Please read below about the relabeling effortsTools and resources to downloadmyths and rumors to dispell on campus, and FAQ's

University Facilities, along with the Sustainability Institute relabeled all recycling and trash (now called landfill) receptacles and dumpsters on campus. That process will also include rebranding, community education, and stakeholder training


With the cooperation of Waste Management, UNH-Durham recycling changed to a single-stream system in January of 2013. We’ve been measuring our progress and it’s time to step it up! UNH recycling rates have improved marginally but we are underperforming compared to other colleges and universities. We worked with the Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN) to complete a waste audit of our campus in 2013. The findings showed inconsistent labeling and an unclear message to the community.

Moving Forward: 

In the past month, new, standardized graphics have already been installed on all 175+ outdoor dumpsters. The next phase will focus on indoor and outdoor waste and recycling receptacles across campus – estimated at over 10,000 - followed by tailored, collaborative outreach at all key campus facilities  - including academic, public and residential facilities. Our outreach team is leading a coordinated effort with building managers, department heads, facilities operators and student leadership to ensure best communication strategies in this large undertaking. 

Attention RA's, RD's, Staff and Student leaders! Please use the pdf linked below to inform the community about how much waste we create on campus! 

*Waste Standards Used:    - 90 cu yards = 1 ton  - 5 cu yd = 100 lb -  1 cu yd = 20 lbs

Waste Management Single Stream Recycling Guidelines

View, like and share our Recycling photo album on facebook! 


Here are some common myths about recycling at UNH:

  • “Single Stream” means that everything, trash and recycling, can go in the same bin.
    • False! Single Stream is for recycling only, and means that all recyclables can go in the same bin and do not have to be sorted. 
  • “It all goes to the landfill anyway; I’ve seen Waste Management put recycling in the same truck as trash”.
    • Sometimes true. If a recycling “dumpster” or “loader” has too much contamination, it cannot be taken as recycling.
    • Contamination includes plastic bags!!! If you are putting your recycling in a plastic bag to take outside, pour it out into the recyclables dumpster and throw the bag in the landfill dumpster, otherwise you are contaminating the recyclables!!
  • “It turns into the landfill gas anyway”
    • False! It’s true that landfill gas powers UNH, but recyclables like plastics, cans, and glass do not break down in a landfill, so you are not helping to power campus by not recycling.
  • “It doesn’t matter.”
    • Recycled goods are up-cycled into other products, textiles, bottles, etc. Again, these materials will not break down in the landfill and will only increase the space taken up.
  • “UNH already does more than most for environmental efforts”
    • That might be true on the energy and emissions fronts – but sadly, we are far behind our peers regarding recycling.  Comparator institutions with mixed stream recycling divert up to 40% of their waste….We can do better with your help! 

"What do I do with my..."check out our FAQ's page!

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UNH participates in

UNH participates in EPA Waste Wise UNH participates in RecycleMania