Yale is transitioning to single stream recycling

Single stream recycling allows you to deposit cans, bottles and other glass, hard plastics and metals in the same bin with mixed paper.  Separation will now occur via special machinery at an off-site recycling center.

This system makes recycling at Yale easier for all. Here is a simple breakdown of the “Do’s and Do Not’s” of single stream recycling:



  • Any hard plastics
  • All standard paper including books, office paper, newspaper, and magazines
  • Clean food containers including milk cartons, cereal boxes, and to-go containers
  • Any metals including cans, tops, and aluminum foil and trays
  • Light bulbs and window glass
  • Tissue paper
  • Polystyrene (Styrofoam)
  • Plastic bags
  • Packing materials such as bubble wrap and packing peanuts


  • Electronics contain any number of chemicals. Please contact Yale Environmental Health and Safety for proper disposal of cell phones, computers, cables, etc….
  • Cardboard boxes should be broken down and placed next to recycling bins.
  • Plastic shopping bags are recyclable, but cannot be processed with the single-stream materials. You can take these to local retailers like Target and Stop-and-Shop.
  • CFL light bulbs, projector lamps, and lithium batteries (i.e. those used in cameras) can be recycled through Yale Environmental Health and Safety. Between pickups keep compact fluorescent bulbs in a small box to avoid breakage
  • Toner cartridges should be recycled through OfficeMax (call (866) 207-1921 or email customersupport@officemax.com).
  • Alkaline batteries can be disposed of in the normal trash or collected by EHS. However, other batteries such as lead acid, lithium, rechargeable and button batteries are considered universal waste and each dead battery MUST be stored separately in a plastic bag or taped with electrical tape on each end.

 Recycling in labs



  • Pipette tip boxes
  • Aluminum foils & trays
  • All glass, plastic or metal containers that are triple rinsed and defaced that once contained liquid chemicals can be recycled.  (Exceptions include any acid, base or acutely hazardous chemical container. Plastic safety coated glass bottles cannot currently be recycled.)


  • Pyrex glass
  • Items with biological, radiological or chemical materials
  • Sharps
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Block foam (e.g. "styrofoam")
  • Rubber-coated chemical bottles
  • Plastic safety-coated glass bottles
  • Any acid, base or acutely hazardous chemical contain

Please note that desk-side recycling bins continue to be used for mixed paper only.  Please deposit recyclable and non-recyclable food and beverage items in the appropriate single stream and trash containers in hallways and other locations away from your desk. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact your building’s Facilities Superintendent.

For additional information on recycling at Yale, please see www.yale.edu/recycle.  Additional general information on recycling and single stream recycling may be found here:

More on how single stream works:

A video by Yale Students:

Recycling 101: