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Recycling at Colgate

At least 30% of Colgate’s landfill “trash” could have been recycled. With some effort, we can increase our recycling rates to cut down on waste and help lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Recycling 101

Not sure what to recycle? Our recycling guide has all of the details!

Colgate Recycling Facts
  • Madison County recycles all plastics (numbers 1-7), including plastic retail bags (fill one bag with other clean bags, tie off when full, and drop in the recycling)!
  • New York State's bottle deposit program means you can return many bottles and cans for cash!
  • Pizza boxes are recyclable — of course, eat all of the pizza first! Grease stains are okay.
  • Colgate's leaf litter is transported to local farms for cow bedding.
  • Colgate's disposable utensils are made of cornstarch and are biodegradable.
  • We recycle electronic waste including computers, monitors, televisions, and printers through Regional Computer Recycling and Recovery (RCR&R), out of Rochester, N.Y.
  • Campus paper towels and toilet tissue are 100 percent recycled material.
  • Print-release stations in computer labs around campus drastically reduce the amount of unclaimed printed paper.
We encourage you to take the lead in your residence or workspace to ensure that it is easy for you and others to recycle. To get started, learn about our two stream recycling system:

Paper products
This bin is for print and copier paper, newspaper, notebook paper, envelopes, magazines, and catalogs. Pizza boxes, cereal boxes, corrugated cardboard, paper bags, and dry food boxes can also be recycled with paper. Most paper recycling bins on campus have a lid with a slit to facilitate paper recycling while reducing contamination.

Plastic, glass and metal
This bin is for all plastics #1-7, all glass bottles and metal cans, plastic milk and water jugs, yogurt containers, laundry soap and detergent bottles, plastic cups, and plastic grocery bags.

Please help Colgate and the planet by taking a moment to place your waste in the proper bin.

Remember: When in doubt, throw it out! This may seem counterintuitive, but it is better to accidentally throw away a recyclable rather than contaminate an entire load of recyclables with trash.

Electronic Waste Recycling

Electronic devices (eWaste) should always be recycled, not thrown in a trash bin, when they become obsolete. Recycling eWaste saves energy, finite and precious resources, and reduces toxins in our environment.

Learn more about recycling electronic waste
  • Cell phones, batteries, compact discs, digital cameras, iPods, cables and cords, printer cartridges, calculators, and other small electronic devices can all be recycled safely and conveniently in the electronic recycling station on the second floor of the Coop (in the elevator alcove) or to any one of our 16 locations around campus (download eWaste map here).  Please lend a helping hand and tape both ends of all batteries before placing them in a battery recycling bin.
  • Members of the Sustainability Office will come around every few weeks to empty the electronic waste bins in your area. If a bin becomes full and needs more immediate attention, please call x6360 or e-mail us at
  • Where does Colgate's eWaste go?  Click here to find out.
  • Larger electronic devices such as Colgate-owned television sets, computers, and printers are collected by ITS (call the helpline at x7111 for assistance).
  • Where can your personally-owned eWaste be recycled?
    As a Hamilton resident, you can take your electronic waste to the transfer station in Poolville (Cranston Road). They are open from 7:10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and will punch your card for each item (punch cards cost $13.50 and contain 5 punches).
    As a Madison County resident, you can also take your eWaste free of charge to the Madison-Cortland ARC at 327 Farrier Avenue and Gary's Auto Parts at 651 Fitch Street, both in Oneida.

How to Minimize Waste

Here are some tips to help you reduce your waste:

  • Drink from reusable cups or water bottles.
  • Use a reusable to-go container (check out ‘gate-to-go!).
  • Only buy things you really need.
  • Think of creative ways to reuse items.
  • Compost food waste.
  • Make sure what you are throwing away is actually trash! Check out our recycling page to learn more.

Have a question on how to recycling at Colgate?  Check out our list of FAQs.