Recycling & Composting at Emory
Emory encourages all members of its community to help reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills. The University is committed to an overall goal of diverting Emory's total waste stream by 95% by 2025, including recycling 100% of electronics waste and road construction materials and composting, recycling, or reusing at least 95% of food waste, animal bedding, and building construction materials. To reach these goals, in January 2018, Emory University will enact its new waste management policy and Zero Landfill Emory Campaign. Find more information here.
For a quick reference, check out this What to Recycle & Compost poster.
The majority of the university's recycling is coordinated by Emory Recycles, a department of Campus Services. Emory Recycles began in 1990 with a group of librarians who began to collect and recycle white paper. With increased enthusiasm and support from students, the recycling program was expanded to the residence halls. Today, Emory Recycles provides a source separated recycling program for all Emory University academic buildings, residence halls, labs, clinics and offices and has begun a composting program at some of the cafeterias on campus. The program's primary goal is to divert University waste through waste reduction education, a source separated commodity collection and a campus composting program. For fiscal year 2010-2011 the program was able to divert 31.9% of Emory University and Emory Healthcare's (the numbers include Emory Healthcare on Clifton Road) waste from the landfill. Emory's Recycling Center facility also handles recycling for the CDC, The Clifton School and Clairmont Place, a local retirement community.
What can be recycled:
Clear, Brown, and Green Glass
Hardback and paperback Books (Better World Book Drop located in the DUC and at the Recycling Center)
*The plastic recycling stream also includes snack wrapper waste: all plastic, foil, or Mylar wrappers and other small disposable packages. Examples include:
- granola or candy bar wrappers
- zip top bags and plastic wrap
- disposable contact lens packaging
- chip bags
Emory's commitment to sustainability doesn't end at the edge of campus. By partnering with the local non-profit re:Loom, Emory University is diverting thousands of pounds of used textiles from landfills while supporting the local community.
Office Supply Swap
To encourage reuse and to reduce the amount of materials going to the recycling center or landfill, Emory Recycles publishes a list of office supplies that various Emory departments no longer need or use. Contact Claire Wall to check for office supplies your department needs or to add your unused supplies to the list.
Electronic Waste Protocols at Emory University
All Emory University owned electronic waste must be returned to Emory for proper handling and processing. Electronic waste may contain Emory proprietary or patient data, and may contain materials that are regulated under environmental, health and safety laws; and therefore, may not be disposed of outside of Emory’s process. In addition, Emory rigorously seeks to reuse or recycle all electronic waste.
What is Electronic Waste? Electronic waste is defined by the EPA as “electrical and electronic equipment that is dependent on electric currents or electromagnetic fields in order to function (including all components, subassemblies, and consumables from the original equipment at the time of discarding).”
Emory distinguishes between two types of electronic waste:
•IT-related electronic waste that contain data, such as PCs, laptops and peripherals
•Electronic waste that does not contain data, such as microwave ovens, refrigerators and lab/clinic equipment.
All Emory electronics must follow these protocols for disposal. For the full list of acceptable items and details on procedures for disposing of electronic waste, please visit the LITS website at http://it.emory.edu/electronicwaste/.
Since 2009, Emory's composting program has directly supported Emory's goal of diverting 95% of its waste from landfills by 2025. Emory partners with Southern Green Industries to process the compostable material collected on campus. The compostable material is delivered to a facility where the materials are mixed with other compostables to achieve an ideal balance of nitrogen and carbon. This industrial-scale composting uses very high temperatures to destroy pathogens and better decompose items, which enables Emory to compost meat bones, paper products, and other items that are not usually compostable in residential composting systems. After a 90-day process during which the composting windrows and beds are turned regularly, the compost is returned to Emory's campus where it is used in semi-annual planting beds.
Campus Buildings with composting currently include:
1599 Clifton Road
Candler School of Theology
Claudia Nance Rollins Building
Clinic B (animal bedding)
Cox Hall (dining area)
Dobbs University Center (Coca-Cola Commons and third floor dining area)
Fraternity Row (select areas)
Goizueta Business School
Grace Crum Rollins Building
Marcus Hillel Center
Miller-Ward Alumni House
School of Medicine (select areas)
School of Law (select areas)
Woodruff Physical Education Center
Goizueta Foundation Center
Whitehead (animal bedding)
Wesley Woods Center
Composting is also available for special events involving food waste. Visit Emory Recycles for more information about composting on campus, and submit a Green Events Checklist for your next event!
Emory Surplus Properties
Emory Surplus Property, a department in the Campus Services Division, is Emory's on-campus location for disposing of all university-owned surplus furniture, equipment and vehicles. Surplus Property, located on Emory's Briarcliff campus, is dedicated to Emory’s Sustainability Vision by supporting the resale of used Emory property, prolonging furniture life and decreasing our landfill waste. For more information check out the Emory Surplus Properties website.
- In fiscal year 2010 - 2011, over 2,719 tons of clear, green, and brown glass, scrap metal, mixed paper (including newspaper, magazines, phone books, and colored paper) and plastics #1-#6 were processed and recycled.
- Last year alone Emory's recycled white and mixed paper saved 11,836.59 trees.
- Currently, 95 percent of electronic waste is re-purposed.
- Construction waste recycling is at 97 percent.
In fiscal year 2012, Emory University diverted from landfills and composted 487 tons of food waste and animal bedding.
Battery Recycling Available
Emory Environmental Health and Safety Office announces that battery recycling containers are now available in the following locations:
• 1599 Clifton - Mail rooom - B160
• 1762 Clifton – Lobby outside EHSO Suite 1200
• Briarcliff Campus – Building A Lobby
• Campus Services – Building B break room
• Dobbs University Center (DUC) - Left of Dunkin Donuts
• Emory Clinics (A, B, & C) – Facilities Management Lobby
• N. Decatur Genetics Building - Second Floor Hallway
• Oxford Campus - Student Center
• Student Activity and Academic Center (SAAC) – Lobby
• White Hall – 2nd floor Lobby
• Whitehead Research Building – Lobby
• Woodruff Library – Left entrance by the magazine stands
• Yerkes Main Station - Left Entrance
View Emory's campus map to find locations.
All battery types/sizes are acceptable, but the collection pails can only accept batteries 10 pounds or smaller. The terminals must be taped to prevent accidental discharge. Click here to view the battery recycling poster demonstrating the correct procedure of preparing batteries for recycling.
For questions or additional information contact Chemwaste@emory.edu or 404-727-5922.
Recycling Administrative Coordinator
FAQs-1599 Clifton Rd Waste Reduction Program
Emory Recycles Resource List
National Recyclemania Competition
• Emory Waste Management Policy_10-24-17