Campus Sustainability Office

You are here: Home / What We Do / Waste Reduction

Single stream recycling announcement

Waste Reduction & Recycling

Our campus has been reducing, reusing, and recycling since the 1980s and we continue to improve waste mitigation in accordance with the University’s Sustainability Plan.
Click here for info on how & where to recycle items that cannot go in curbside bins.

Fast Facts

  • Sorting: We currently have a single stream recycling system: paper, cardboard, plastics, cans, and glass can all be combined. Look for the blue bins in academic buildings and office spaces. Our outdoor recycling bins are green.
  • Bagging: Recycleables should be loose, NOT bagged. Bagged recyclables are pulled out because the bags clog up machinery, so they end up in the landfill instead!
  • Plastics bags/film: Plastic grocery & newspaper bags, plastic film, and bubble wrap cannot be recycled in the blue bins. These materials clog the sorting system at a regular facility and must be recycled at a special facility. UWO partners with Trex to recycle this type of waste from our internal operations. Trex uses such plastic to create durable decking materials and outdoor furniture. You can also find plastic film recycling at many area grocery stores. In fact, Festival Foods partners with Trex as well!
  • Lids: Metal lids and plastic lids over 4" may be recycled separate from their original containers. Small plastic lids, such as those from beverage containers, should be screwed back onto their rinsed container. This keeps small plastic bits from falling through machinery and contaminating other recycling processes.
  • Electronics: All campus units recycle any electronic waste that they generate internally and in 2016 we diverted 6.33 tons of such waste. We also have an e-waste drive every year (usually during Earth Week in April) to collect cell phones, single-use and rechargeable batteries, printer cartridges, computers, TVs, etc. If you'd rather not wait until April, Best Buy or Batteries+ are other good year-round dropoff locations for small items.
  • Construction waste: In 2015-16 three buildings were being renovated. The total of construction and demolition materials recycled, donated, or otherwise recovered totaled 3,297 tons; only 433 tons were sent to the landfill!
  • Our facilities and maintenance teams recycle tires, oil, and metals.
  • In 2015, we collected 537 pounds of food from students in res halls during Move Out Week and donated it to the Oshkosh Area Community pantry. in 2016, we increased our efforts and worked closely with Residence Life to divert 5,365 pounds of waste including 860 pounds of food that was again donated to the Oshkosh Area Community Pantry and 1,020 pounds of metal that was recycled. Check out the UWO Today article here.
  • In the past we have run public events involving the arts, called TRASHformation, in partnership with Los Angeles-based RuckusRoots.

Over the years we have seen an increase in campus waste mitigation & diversion, but most importantly, we have also seen decreases in waste generationFor more information on the waste stream at UW Oshkosh, view the 2010 Waste Audit Presentation and Report produced by students in the Environmental Studies 390, a topics course focused on Campus Sustainability. Learn more about waste management at UWO in the Campus Sustainability Plan.

UWO Trash and recycling graph 2010UWO Recycling Graph


Wondering how to recycle waste at home? Want to know where you can take hazardous materials? Check out the Winnebago County Waste Department for more info!

Want more info about the process your recycled materials go through after they're picked up? Watch this short video about how single stream material recovery facilities (MRFs) work!

Document Actions

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh — Where Excellence and Opportunity Meet.