Recycling FAQs

The recycling business is very dynamic, and changes occur often. Whether it be in the items we can recycle, or the way we need to handle them, things can change very rapidly. These FAQs will tell you everything you need to know about recycling at Missouri State, so that you can recycle with confidence!


Why is recycling important?

What is commingled recycling?

Who empties the recycling bins?

Where can I recycle?

What can I recycle on campus?

What should NOT be placed in commingled bins?

What are proper recycling procedures?

How can I recycle batteries or toner cartridges?

What is cardboard?

What is E-Waste?

How do I get rid of CDs, DVDs, tapes, and hard drives?

Can I bring recycling from home?

If I have items to recycle at home, where can I take them in Springfield?

What is the definition of sustainability?

What can I do to be more sustainable?

Who do I contact if I have a recycling-related question?

Why is Recycling Important?

Recycling conserves resources and energy.

Did you know?

Recycling one aluminum can saves the amount of energy needed to power a TV for three hours

Recycling a stack of newspaper just 3 feet high saves one entire tree

The average person generates 4.5 pounds of waste per day or 1,643 pounds per year!

Americans send 2.5 million plastic bottles to the landfill every hour


What is commingled recycling?

We use commingled recycling bins on campus, which means you can put all recyclable materials in the same bin. Read more below to find out what is considered recyclable on campus.

Who empties the recycling bins?

Both Custodial Services and Environmental Management are involved in servicing the various recycling bins across campus.

Custodial Services handles the large, rolling paper bins located in the buildings. If you need an extra pick up or a temporary rolling paper bin for an office cleanout, please submit a work order:

Student Recycling Coordinators in Environmental Management pick up cans and plastic bottles from the academic buildings and outdoor recycling containers. They also service the cardboard carts located in a select few buildings

Bins are monitored on a weekly basis. Please be patient if your bin is overflowing; most bins across campus are serviced by just a few student workers.

If you have issues or concerns regarding the recycling bins in your building, please email

Where can I recycle?

We have placed recycling containers in all of the academic buildings as well as 20 outdoor recycling containers for use between buildings and at the shuttle stops.

However, recycling bins across campus come in different shapes, sizes and colors. In addition, some bins are labeled differently than others. For instance, a bin labeled “cans and bottles” it is actually a comingled bin.

To simplify things, just remember:

Paper goes in the paper bin, all other recyclables in the commingled bin, and all waste in the trash bin.

Don’t forgot to look for recycling bins outside. These bins are commingled.

Here are some examples of recycling bins you might see across campus:

Recycling Bins

What can I recycle on campus?

In the paper bins:

  • Opened mail & greeting cards
  • White or pastel office paper
  • File folders and shredded paper
  • Magazines, brochures & catalogs
  • Newspapers & inserts (NO BAGS)
  • Phonebooks, paper/hard-back books

In the Comingled Bins:

  • #1-7 plastics
  • Aluminum cans (don’t crush/flatten)
  • Clean, balled aluminum foil/pie pans
  • Loose metal jar lids/steel bottle caps
  • Paper milk/ juice cartons (no foil pouches, do not flatten)
  • Empty aerosol cans (no caps)

Corrugated Cardboard (including pizza boxes) and paperboard boxes and paper bags can be recycled in the following locations. Cardboard should not be placed in the comingled bins because it is very bulky.

  • Karls Hall Service Elevator
  • Siceluff 1st Floor Vending
  • Professional Building 1st Floor
  • Professional Building 4th Floor
  • Cheek Hall Rm 150
  • Hill Hall 4th Floor Hallway
  • Kemper Hall Main Lobby
  • Temple Hall Rm 403
  • Glass Hall 2nd Floor Hallway
  • Kings Street Annex 2nd Floor

There is also a cardboard recycling dumpster located north of the Stores and Maintenance building behind Temple.

Submit a work order to Custodial Services for pick-ups of large quantities, such as office clean outs, to avoid overfilling bins:

What should NOT be placed in comingled bins?

  • Glass or ceramic of any kind**
  • Cardboard**
  • Plastic lids and caps
  • Plastic bags (recyclable at select supermarkets)
  • Scrap metal (dangerous!)
  • Plastic 6-pack holders
  • Foam packing materials
  • Needles or syringes
  • Plastic microwave trays
  • Frozen food, ice cream containers
  • Hazardous/bio-hazardous waste
  • Plastics other than those listed
  • Tissues, paper towels, napkins
  • Waxed paper or waxed cardboard
  • Styrofoam® or paper containers
  • Containers that have not been rinsed or cleaned of food

**Glass and cardboard CAN be recycled in the residence halls and other specific locations on campus

What are proper recycling procedures?

When recycling on campus, it is important to follow these procedures:

  • Flatten all cardboard boxes
  • Empty and rinse all containers
  • Do not flatten containers/cans
  • Remove caps from plastic bottles and throw them away
  • No need to remove staples, rubber bands, paper clips, stamps, tape, spiral binding from paper

How can I recycle batteries, toner cartridges or e-waste?

You can recycle your used printer/toner cartridges, spent batteries and even e-waste through the Academic Recycling program. We will even come pick them up! Just complete a Recycling Pick-Up Request - let us know where your recyclables are located, what kind of recyclables and the amount you have, then sit back and wait for your items to be picked up. It’s that simple!

How do I get rid of CDs, DVDs, tapes, and hard drives?

Discs that contain sensitive data, such as student records or personal information, must be disposed of in accordince with our Information Security policies. Please review the current University policies. Other discs may be recycled, though the cost of recycling (currently $2 per pound) will be paid by the department submitting the materials for recycling.

What is cardboard?

Most of the time, what we call "cardboard" is pretty easy to identify- it is that ‘paper sandwich’ material that consists of flat cardboard on the top and bottom, with a wavy "corrugated" or fluted strip running through the center. This material is largely referred to in the recycling industry as Old Corrugated Cardboard (OCC). OCC is most commonly seen as boxes used for packaging and shipping items.It can be any color, but brown is most common.

Our current recycling vendor also classifies Paperboard (flat, pressed, stiff paper used in cereal boxes, for example) as cardboard, and wants this material placed in the bins used for cardboard collection. This can be confusing, as not all recycling programs classify paperboard this way.

So just to clarify: paperboard should be recycled along with cardboard. Please do not place paperboard into the paper recycling bins.

All Cardboard must be broken down to be recycled.

What is e-waste?

Electronic waste, or e-waste, consists of electronic devices such as televisions, computers, computer monitors, printers, cell phones, desk phones, copiers, VCRs, stereo equipment…..well, you get the idea. Essentially anything that contains a circuit board or other electronic controllers. Functional but no-longer-wanted electronic devices should go through the surplus property process through Property Control. Non-functional e-waste can be recycled through Environmental Management; be aware that anything that stores data (computers, printers, copiers) must have all memory devices properly purged prior to disposal. Contact the Computer Services Help Desk at 836-5891 for help with that.

Can I bring recycling from home?

We do not currently have the capability or resources to handle the volume of material associated with home generation. We certainly encourage you to appropriately recycle materials from those items that are brought to and consumed on campus, such as drink containers.

If I have items to recycle at home, where can I take them in Springfield?

The City of Springfield operates several centers where you can recycle a wide variety of materials. They are located at 731 N. Franklin, 3020 S. Lone Pine, and adjacent to the Yard Waste Recycling Center. More information is available at the website:

What is the definition of sustainability?

Sustainability encompasses such a wide variety of subjects that it can be difficult to get your arms around a strict definition. Even the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) does not ascribe to a single definition. The classically-referenced United Nations Brundtland Commission’s definition of sustainable development is "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." (Go to for additional information). Then there is the three-e model for decision making, which argues that a decision is sustainable when it takes an appropriately balanced view of ecological, economic and equity concerns (see for more on this). A simple working definition is probably some combination of these two ideas.

What can I do to be more sustainable?

Start small. Recycle. Switch off lights when you leave the room. Take shorter showers. Carpool. Little changes add up if enough people make them.

Who do I contact if I have a recycling-related question?

Contact the Environmental Management office at:

417-836-8334, or