Waste Minimization

Over the past decade, TU has recycled over 22 million pounds of material, composted 2.4 million pounds of organics, and reached a 54.6% recycling rate.

Know Before You Throw

Use our new waste directory to search for and discover how to properly dispose of everyday items.

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Landfill waste will exist on our planet for hundreds of years, and burning trash contributes to local air pollution. There's a better option. You can lessen your impact and divert waste by reducing, reusing, and recycling on TU's campus. Be on the lookout for composting and single-stream recycling bins, in addition to specialty recycling for electronics, batteries, light bulbs and printer cartridges.   

Stop and Sort with Doc

Learn how to stop and sort with Doc after you’ve finished eating!


Frequently Asked Questions


Single stream recycling allows you to place all general recycling into one container. At TU, paper, plastic, glass and metal can be placed in one bin.  All items must be clean and liquid-free. If you live off-campus, check with your local municipality for the recyclables collected in your area. You can recycle:

  • bottles, cans, jars, jugs
  • wide-mouth plastic containers
  • clean paper, junk mail, cardboard

Placing these items in your recycling bin can contaminate single stream recycling:

  • utensils, plates, snack wrappers
  • food, liquids, soiled pizza boxes
  • plastic "clam shell" style containers
  • plastic bags, plastic film, Styrofoam packaging, binders
  • electronics, printer cartridges, CFLs, rechargeable batteries
  • construction debris

You can chose to take your plastic bags to certain grocery stores to recycle.  Unfortunately, plastic bags in a single stream system pose a problem at recycling facilities. They’re known as “tanglers” and get stuck in machinery, halting the recycling line. Baltimore County created a short video called “Tangled Up” (YouTube) to explain. 


If it grows it goes! Anything that's all-natural can be composted. Look for compost bins located throughout campus. You can compost:

  • food scraps, including meat and dairy
  • napkins, uncoated paper plates, waxed paper
  • pizza boxes, paper boats
  • PLA 7 cups and utensils

Compost bins can be found at all dining locations throughout campus and in select buildings. A communal bin is located in each residence hall. To start a compost collection in your building, contact the 

That depends. Dining Services and Tiger Hospitality Catering offer reusable and compostable utensils. Approved compostable utensils say either "compostable" or "PLA 7" on them. Chances are if it's from somewhere else, it needs to be landfilled.

If there isn't a compost bin available, you have to landfill your waste. If you'd like to start a compost collection in your building, contact the 

Specialty Recycling

Small electronics, including cables, can be placed in green collection bins located near the information desks in West Village Commons and the universal waste station outside of the bookstore in the University Union. Contact Material Management to dispose of university equipment. Additional containers for specific items like printer cartridges, batteries, and compact fluorescent lightbulbs are placed throughout campus as well.

You can find printer cartridge bins in the following locations:

  • Admin Building, 109
  • Center for Fine Arts, 3002
  • Enrollment Services, 238
  • Enrollment Services, 312
  • General Services, across from 152
  • Linthicum, 113
  • University Union, first floor near bookstore
  • Van Bokkelen, across from 211
  • West Village Commons Information Desk 

You can recycle Lithium-ion and Nickel-metal Hydride batteries. Standard alkaline batteries should be discarded in the landfill bins. You can find battery bins in the following locations:

  • Admin Building, 312
  • Admin Building, 440
  • Admin Building, Procurement Office
  • Center for Fine Arts, 307
  • Center for Fine Arts, 2028
  • Cook Library Information Desk
  • Enrollment Services, 238
  • General Services, across from 152
  • Hawkins Hall, 210
  • Liberal Arts Building, 3210
  • Stephens Hall, outside of 112
  • University Union, first floor near bookstore
  • Van Bokkelen, 105

You can find CFL bins in the following locations:

  • Admin Building, 440
  • General Services, across from 152
  • Liberal Arts, 3210
  • Stephens Hall, near 112
  • University Union, first floor near bookstore

Recycling and Composting at Events

A Zero-Waste event is any event that diverts at least 90% of the waste into the recycling and composting streams.

Lucky for you, we’ve made a handy Zero-Waste Events Checklist (pdf) to help you get started!

Of course! Get in touch with your ECS Event Manager and ask them to provide bins and green compostable bags. Be sure to let guests know what is compostable, recyclable, or landfill at the start of your event.

Learn how to make your office or club more sustainable with the help of the EcoReps.

Request Training

A Rich History of Sustainability 

Towson University began its recycling program more than three decades ago. We currently boast a recycling rate of more than 40 percent--surpassing the goal suggested for institutions of our size. We're not stopping here: our goal is to reach a rate of 50% by 2025. 

Recent Achievements


  • The Campus Move Out Yard Sale is recognized as a 2023 BTU Partnership Award recipient. 
  • TU wins national Campus Race to Zero Waste Education and Awareness Award for its promotion of the Know Before You Throw waste directory.


  • The TU ReUSE shop opens, which allows departments to quickly, sustainably, and affordably purchase used furniture for campus buildings.
  • TU achieves it highest recycling rate to date (47.19%)


  • TU recognized by EPA for Food Waste Reduction efforts.


  • TU wins national RecycleMania Education and Awareness Award through it's inaugural Fix-It Fair event.

  • TU ranks 9th in RecycleMania Electronics Recycling Competition. 

  • Tiger Pride Day becomes first Zero-Waste Event to be held in State Capital. 

  • All campus residence hall rooms receive new blue bins.


  • TU achieves 43% recycling rate.

  • TU Dining begins strawless in efforts to prevent single use plastic waste.

  • TU Residential Composting Pilot begins.

  • All Dining Halls go trayless.

  • TU hosts its first Family Weekend Zero-Waste Crab Feast.


  • TU wins national RecycleMania Education and Awareness Award through its social media outreach campaign.

  • Newell Dining Hall goes trayless.

  • Starbucks converts to 100% compostable cups.

  • TU introduces Zero-Waste Events on campus.