What you can recycle at home might be different than at Wesleyan, but what's recyclable is the same across Connecticut.  Click the expandable links below to learn more about recycling or download a printable recycling/compost handout.  

Betterbin App

Wesleyan is piloting the Betterbin app, which makes it easier for you to see at a glance what is recyclable or compostable.  Try it out!


Download our new recycling and trash posters, which are going up city-wide. To report missing wall or bin stickers in your area or to request 11x17 versions of these posters, please email Jen Kleindienst.

Download trash or recycling posters via the 4 links above

Recycling Poster - Public/Office   

Recycling Poster - Residential/Dorm

Trash Poster - Public/Office

Trash Poster - Residential/Dorm

Detailed Recycling & Trash Information

Mixed Recycling (Single Stream)

  • Paper & Cardboard
    • White/colored paper (staples/tape ok), including:
      • Post-its
      • Construction paper
      • Junk mail
      • NO shredded paper (clogs recycling machines)
    • Envelopes (if you can tear it, it's recyclable), including:
      • Manila envelopes
      • Envelopes with windows 
    • Printer paper wrap
    • Magazines
    • Newspapers
    • Corrugated cardboard (wavy inner layer; trash plastic packaging)
    • Boxboard (cereal boxes, tissue boxes, egg cartons etc.; trash plastic liners)
    • Pizza boxes (clean or greasy, just eat the pizza)
    • Books (remove hard covers)
    • Coffee cup sleeves
    • Milk cartons, juice boxes, soup cartons (remove straws)
  • Plastic
    Empty, wipe out, and leave lids on
    • Bottles (drinks, condiments, shampoo, lotion, detergent, etc.)
    • Tubs (yogurt, snack, take-out containers, Tupperware, etc.)
    • Jars (peanut butter, mayo, etc.)
    • Cups (includes Solo cups, NO Pi/Usdan cups)
    • Large hard plastic items (laundry baskets, milk crates, plastic bins, etc.)
    • Milk cartons, juice boxes, soup cartons
    • NO plastic bags → recycle in "Trex" recycling boxes by Pi Cafe and Usdan mail window
  • Glass
    Empty, wipe out, and leave lids on
    • Food and drink bottles and jars 
  • Metal
    Empty and wipe out
    • Drink and food cans
    • Aluminum food containers
    • Aluminum foil (clean)
      • NO small pieces of foil, like yogurt lids or K-Cup lids (clog recycling machines)
    • Aerosol cans (food only)
"Other recycling" items cannot go in mixed recycling bins but are still recyclable elsewhere on campus. Read below to learn where to recycle these items.
  • Other Recycling

    Recycle in neon green bins at Exley lobby (near Pi) and Center for Film Studies:

    • Batteries 
    • CDs, DVDs, and cassette tapes
    • Cell phones
    • Compact fluorescent light bulbs
    • Ink cartridges
    • Small electronics
    • String/holiday lights
    • Writing utensils (all pens, pencils, markers, and highlighters)
    • NEW: Plastic bags - recycle in "Trex" boxes next to green bin outside Pi Cafe and in Usdan basement by the mail window

    Recycle in dorm bathrooms (or campus mail to Jen Kleindienst, 170 Long Lane):

    • Oral care waste
      • Empty toothpaste tubes
      • Empty floss containers
      • Used toothbrushes
      • Toothbrush/floss packaging
    • Hair and skin care packaging
      • Empty tubes of lotion, shampoo, conditioner, and other skin/hair care products
      • Empty packets of wipes (makeup remover, etc.)
      • Empty hair spray containers
      • Empty cosmetics packaging (lipstick, mascara, eye shadow, nail polish, etc.)


    Contact Bill Nelligan in Facilities:

    • Aerosol cans containing hazardous substances (paint, other chemicals))
    • Large electronics
    • Fluorescent light bulbs
    • Ink cartridges
    • Motor oil
    • Scrap metal


    Reuse via Freecycle or donate:

    • Packing peanuts
    • Bubble wrap


    Donate to reuse:

    • Textiles and wearable shoes
      • Big Brothers Big Sisters donation bins are in L lot by Butterfield A, in High/Low Rise parking lot, and at the Hewitt Circle
      • Each May, Goodwill bins are set up campuswide for textile, shoe, and small household item collection
    • Wearable or unwearable clothing, shoes, and accessories 
      • Simple Recycling collects from all sites that have curbside access (woodframe neighborhoods, program houses).  Request a pink bag from Res Life or clearly mark any bag with "Simple Recycling" and put bags by the curb Monday nights


Trash (Incinerator)

  • Some Plastic
    Don't be fooled - some of these items have plastic numbers on the bottom but still aren't recyclable!
    • Plastic bags (shopping bags, zip-lock bags, box liners, bubble wrap, plastic wrap) → recycle at stores
    • Styrofoam® (cups, containers, packing peanuts, etc.)
    • Cutlery (forks, spoons, knives - they're too small and fall through the cracks of the recycling machines)
    • Straws & stirrers
    • Plates & bowls
    • "Greenware" and other compostable bioplastics → compost these at Usdan dish return, Summerfields dish return, and outside Pi Cafe)
    • Black plastic containers 
    • Prescription bottles (they're too small and fall through the cracks of the recycling machines)
    • Loose bottle caps and small lids 
    • Bubble envelopes (Amazon, Fed Ex, UPS, etc. - if you can't tear it easily you can't recycle it)
    • K-cup coffee pods → recycle in offices via WB Mason
  • Some Paper
    • Paper cups, plates, bowls, take-out containers → Usdan/Pi ones are compostable at Usdan dish return, Summerfields dish return, and outside Pi Cafe
    • Paper towels and napkins (even if unused) → compost brown ones in dorm/residential composting and at Usdan dish return, Summerfields dish return, and outside Pi Cafe 
    • Tissues
    • Ice cream cartons 
    • Bubble envelopes (Amazon, Fed Ex, UPS, etc. - if you can't tear it easily, you can't recycle it)
    • Glossy/photo paper
    • Paper with crayon/poster paint
    • Shredded paper → recycle via ProSHRED in offices
    • Wrapping paper
    • Gift bags
    • Tissue paper
  • Other
    • Pyrex dishes
    • Light bulbs → CFLs and LEDs are recyclable in the green bins in Usdan and Exley lobbies
    • Aerosol cans (non-food)
    • Scrap metal (pots, pans, notebook spirals, etc.)
    • Wrappers (chips, candy, etc.)
Have a question about an item that's not on this list?  Visit or email