Laboratory Landfill Diversion

Standardized recycling and composting in Emory labs

Lab Recycling Highlights

As a nationally recognized leader in scientific education and research, Emory University has hundreds of teaching and research labs throughout its campuses.

This program is the University’s first standardization of recycling and composting non-hazardous and non-regulated waste in research and teaching labs.

Launching in the Rollins School of Public Health in Summer 2019, more labs will join the program over time, with the goal for all Emory labs to join the movement toward a post-landfill future by the end of 2019.

Emory University’s goal is to divert 95% of waste from landfills by 2025.


60% of purchases made by Emory University are for scientific equipment and supplies, much of which is disposable and ends up in Emory’s waste streams.

Lab Recycling Benefits

Inclusion of Emory labs into the standard Waste Policy means that labs benefit from the same level of service as the rest of campus, and are also expected to adhere to the same sustainable operational and behavioral standards as non-lab spaces. Through the standard program, labs will:

  1. receive new, standard waste station equipment, labels, and signs for all streams, provided by Campus Services;
  2. receive the new benefit of recycling and compost bin servicing by custodial staff;
  3. be expected to recycle non-contaminated paper, plastic, metal, and glass;
  4. be expected to compost non-contaminated paper towels at each sink;
  5. receive individual lab training on proper waste sorting;
  6. and be incentivized to participate in the Green Labs at Emory Program.

How It Works

The Laboratory Waste Policy Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) outlines how Emory labs are expected to align with the 2018 Emory Waste Policy.

The Lab Recycling Process Map provides detailed information on how to sort regulated and hazardous lab materials as well as recyclable and compostable lab materials.

  • All Lab Members are expected to sort their waste properly and be trained under the new policy
  • All labs will be will be equipped with at least one waste station, which include:
    • White paper bin
    • Mixed paper bin
    • Plastics and Metals bin
    • Glass bin, upon request
    • Landfill bin
    • Compost bin by each sink
  • All Landfill bins outside of the designated waste station are required to be eliminated from now on
  • All regulated and hazardous materials will continue to be serviced by processes managed by Emory’s Environmental Health and Safety Office (EHSO)