OSU Recycles - FAQs

Here is a list of some commonly asked questions regarding recycling at OSU. If you don't see your question listed below, please feel free to contact us at recycle@okstate.edu

How do I obtain recycle bins for my department?
Visit this page to request a bin.

What kind of paper is recyclable?
For a list of all acceptable paper, visit our accepted materials page. Thankfully, now all paper can go into same bin - no sorting necessary!

Are bottle caps accepted?
Yes, please empty any leftover liquid from your bottle, replace the cap, and put it into the nearest recycling bin.

What do I do with my cardboard?
Flatten and place it inside a paper recycle bin if it is small enough to fit though the slot.  If larger, flatten and wedge it between a paper recycling bin and the wall or  outside in one of the 13 green cardboard dumpsters on campus.  

What are the materials that are currently recycled at OSU? How much of each?
Check out our chart!

Do residents on campus have a recycling program?
Residents have different recycling needs than a typical office, classroom or lab, so OSU operates Res Life Recycles just for those who live on campus. Res Life Recycles is a mixed recycling program, which means no sorting, and more materials are accepted because it is handled by Republic Services and transferred to a materials recovery center off campus rather than to the OSU Recycling Center.

Someone told me the recycling just gets landfilled, is that true?
No, recycling from the OSU Recycles program does not go to the landfill.  A small percentage of what is collected is not recyclable and that is sorted out and landfilled (less than 10%).  Before the OSU Recycles program was established in 2013, there may have been instances in some campus buildings where custodians threw out the recycling, especially if trash was mixed in with it.  Also, some recycling might have been landfilled in 2008 during the recession because of market failure, but those markets have bounced back.  Keep in mind, if you see a custodian placing a bag of recyclables in a cart with bags of trash, that doesn’t mean it is being discarded.  At most campus buildings, the recycle dumpster is adjacent to the trash dumpster, so the custodian is simply using the same cart as a conveyance and will place bags in the appropriate container outdoors. All cardboard, paper, plastic bottles, and aluminum cans collected in the program do get recycled!

How do I arrange for a special event or office clean-up?
Please contact the OSU Recycling Department in order to arrange for a special event or office clean up at recycle@okstate.edu or by calling 405-744-4354. You will need to generate a work order, but there is no cost for this service.

How can I make my office sustainable if we have a lot of necessary paperwork?
Use electronic document management! 
University Imaging converts documents to electronic files, which saves office space and makes it easier for a department to retrieve files.

Has a Waste Stream Analysis (WSA) ever been done at OSU?
Yes, a WSA was part of a 2007 research paper by P.L. Brown, which can be found here. The most recent WSA was conducted in Spring 2013 by a graduate student in Civil Engineering. You can find the results of that study here. In spring 2017, the study was replicated by Environmental Science Club members. For those results, click here.

We encourage further student research into integrated solid waste management issues at OSU. Contact us with your ideas!


Recovered paper from
an OSU Waste Audit