Beginning in 2008, UMass Lowell launched a successful Single Stream Recycling program in partnership with Casella Waste Solutions, our waste hauler.

River Hawks Recycle Right

Program Overview

The black trash and blue recycling bins you see around campus are the central collection points for the majority of our collective day-to-day waste. Each of us must be responsible for how we manage our waste. The University cannot become more sustainable without your help.

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.

Housekeeping will manage all recyclable & non-recyclable central collection areas. Waste collection service is not provided to office, lab or residence room spaces.

If you have ever wondered what you can throw into a bin the containers nearly all have signage on them or you can reference the lists below for a list of Recyclables and Non-Recyclables:

    • Color of Waste Container: Blue
    • Material To Throw Into Container:
      • 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
    • Color of Waste Container: Black
    • Material To Throw Into Container:
      • Food waste
      • Recyclables containing food waste
      • Clothing and shoes
      • Unmarked # plastic (packaging, chairs, toys)
      • Batteries
      • light bulbs
      • electronics
      • Pyrex or ceramic (dishes, plates, mugs, pots)
      • Foam packaging
      • Aerosol cans (paint, hairspray, cleaner)
      • Straws
      • Lids

How Single Stream Recyclables are Sorted

All of our University's single-stream recyclables are brought to a nearby Materials Recovery Facility or MRF and sorted using a high-tech sorting system.

The nearest MRFs our university use are located in Salem, N.H. and Charlestown, Mass.

Putting Waste To Work Creating Energy

Our trash or municipal solid waste (MSW), as it is formally called, isn't just sent to a landfill. It goes to a waste-to-energy incinerator.

This waste to energy incinerator burns trash and produces electricity. It is located just north of campus in Haverhill, Mass. To learn more about how this works check out the video on our local Covanta plant.


If you have additional questions about how our recyclables or waste is managed please reach out to the Office of Sustainability by email at: