Zero-Sort Recycling Program

Beginning in 2008, UMass Lowell launched its Zero-Sort Recycling program in partnership with Casella Waste Solutions, our waste hauler. 

This program has proven to be quite successful. The black trash bins and blue recycling bins you see around campus are the central collection points from the launch of the program. 

The success of this program is recognizing that each of us are responsible for the waste products that we generate and that it is incumbent upon us to be environmentally conscious by reducing, reusing and recycling our waste products. We need your help by setting an example for others to follow by recycling.

See the chart below for a list of Recyclables and Non Recyclables:

Zero-Sort Recyclables

  • Office paper (white/colored)
  • Magazines, newspapers, glossy inserts
  • Books, junk mail, envelopes
  • Aluminum cans, tin, steel
  • Cardboard
  • Clean boxboard (shoe boxes/cereal boxes)
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Plastic bottles #1-7


  • Food waste
  • Clothing and shoes
  • Unmarked # plastic (packaging, chairs, toys)
  • Batteries, lightbulbs, electronics
  • Pyrex or ceramic (dishes, plates, mugs, pots)
  • Foam packaging
  • Aerosol cans (paint, hairspray, cleaner)
  • Recyclables containing food waste
  1. All buildings have central recyclable (blue) & non-recyclable (black) collection containers located in common corridors—over 200 locations.
  2. Each of us must be responsible for our own waste products. The University cannot become more sustainable without your help.
  3. Existing personal office, lab and room trash receptacles continue to provide occupants a means to separate their waste stream products (recyclable and non-recyclable). It is essential that each of us bring our waste products to the centralized waste collection areas and properly dispose of them.
  4. Most containers list products that are recyclable & non-recyclable above them.
  5. Housekeeping will manage all recyclable & non-recyclable central collection areas. Waste collection service is not provided to office, lab or residence room spaces.

NOTE: Food and drink are prohibited in UMass Lowell laboratories and classrooms.