Recycling on Campus

All-In-One Recycling

In the fall of 2012, UNC Asheville began combining paper, bottles, and cans together into a single container.  Recyclables are picked-up from campus and taken to a sorting facility.  Single stream recycling simplifies the recycling process which increases participation and minimizes waste sent to the landfill. In the 2015-2016 school year, over 134 tons of material were diverted from the landfill through this program. 

Special Recycling Programs

Bulbs - Fluorescent light bulbs are recycled on campus through Cleanlites Recycling. Electricians and Housekeeping staff are responsible for changing lightbulbs. Costs prohibit us from accepting personal light bulbs brought from home for recycling. If you have a dead light bulb that has been used on campus, please contact  In the 2015-2016 school year, UNC Asheville recycled over 1,914 lbs of light bulbs. To further reduce light bulbs in the waste stream, longer-lasting LED lights replaced fluorescent and incandescent bulbs in several buildings across campus.

Batteries - In NC, it is illegal to dump lead-acid batteries into a landfill. When batteries are improperly disposed of, heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, and nickel can contaminate the environment. All types of batteries are collected across campus for recycling - look for the small brown bins on each floor of every building. If you are disposing of waste lithium batteries, please tape the terminals with packing tape (not duct tape) to prevent fires. If the battery recycling container in your building is full, contact for service.

Electronics - Computer, TVs, phones and other types of e-waste contain hazardous materials such as mercury and cadium that are harmful to humans and the environment. Many electronics also contain valuable, non-renewable resources and can be reclaimed. Many of these items have been banned from NC landfills. IT Services Sustainable Computing Program has reduced the number of computers for disposal by participating in a leasing program. The e-waste produced on campus is picked-up by Powerhouse Recycling.

Ink Cartridges - Place used ink cartridges in it at your departmental mailbox with a note that says "Recycle". Mail services personnel will pick it up daily.

Automobile shop recycling - UNC Asheville recycles oil and oil filters from university operated vehicles through Noble Oil Company. In the 2014-2015 school year, UNC Asheville recycled over 200 gallons of motor oil. Additionally, the shop uses oil filters that have a longer life span that can be replaced less frequently. Campus Operations takes used tires to the Buncombe County Landfill to be recycled.

Cooking oils, grease, and biosolidsBlue Ridge Biofuels converts collected fryer oil waste into usable biofuel and UNC Asheville closes the recycling loop by using biofuel in campus owned vehicles and equipment. Valley Proteins services the grease traps on campus, converting this waste material into high energy animal feed. Last year, our campus recycled 26 tons of grease and oil from the Dining Halls.

Trees - Trees harvested from construction sites on campus or because of death or disease have been recycled into lumber. Lumber has been used on campus as paneling, to make retirement gifts, and used to construct outdoor structures. 

Construction and Demolition Recycling- UNC Asheville stores extra materials from construction projects for use in future projects as seen in at the Sol Garden and the Bee Hotel. Untreated, unusable wood (i.e. broken pallets) are chipped and used for mulch. Other construction and demolition materials such as concrete and asphalt shingles are recycled locally. UNC Asheville also encourages contractors to recycle C&D waste and has developed a guide to facilitate waste reduction for on-campus projects.


RecycleMania is “a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities.” Schools across the United States and Canada report the amount of recycling and trash collected each week and are in turn ranked in various categories based on who recycles the most and landfills the least. With each week’s updated ranking, participating schools follow their performance against other colleges and use the results to rally their campus to reduce and recycle more. 

Every spring, since 2012, UNC Asheville has been participating in the 8-week long contest. In the 2014 competition, UNC Asheville placed 166 out of 332 colleges and universities.  In 2017 UNC Asheville ranked 11 out of 190 schools and was the highest ranked school in the state with a waste diversion rate of over 68%! Let's break into the top 10 in 2018!

Printable Signs and Guides

Feel free to print and post these waste reduction signs and guides.