Reduce – Reuse – Recycling

One of the ways UNTHSC is working to be more sustainable is by diverting our waste from landfills through recycling.  We have waste/co-mingled recycling receptacles located throughout campus that is picked up by our custodial staff and placed in the appropriate dumpsters.  In addition, we have expanded the recycling program to include other items such as batteries and ink cartridges in our Recycling 2.0 program.  Read on to learn more about campus recycling or click on the buttons above to be taken to specific information.

Why Recycle?

Sustainability means that we are using our resources in ways that are beneficial both now and in the future. Recycling is a way in which we can use and reuse our resources, and there are many benefits to recycling including:

  • Reducing the Need for Landfill Space. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans generated about 250 million tons of waste in 2010, and only a little over 34% of it was recycled (although our region’s recycling rate is lower at about 19%). The waste that is not recycled is a huge burden on our cities (reference).
  • Pollution Prevention. Many of the items that we dispose of have harmful chemicals and pollutants in them such as light bulbs, batteries, and electronic waste items. By proper recycling, we can prevent harmful chemicals from polluting the landfill sites.
  • Energy and Resource Conservation. It requires less energy and natural resources to produce goods from recycled materials than virgin materials resulting in conservation of resources and savings. Using less energy also results in fewer harmful greenhouse gases from entering the environment.
  • Recycling Creates Jobs. Take a moment and Google “recycling in Fort Worth”. Recycling creates jobs and can boost the economy.

Recycling at HSC

Co-mingle Recycling

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Co-mingle means that all recyclable items can be collected in one container rather than having to sort each item by type. UNTHSC offers co-mingle recycling services for our campus community. Receptacles for trash and recycling are located throughout campus.  The picture below illustrates what is accepted in our co-mingle or single-stream recycling.  You can place any of these items in the co-mingle side of the receptacles located throughout campus or in any blue bin.

single stream w glass 1 7 white background 7

Items included in the co-mingle recycling are*:

  • Plastic Containers #1-7– look for the recycle sign and number; some types of #6 are not accepted such as Styrofoam
  • Paper Products such as magazines, office paper, newspaper, brown paper bags, junk mail, and phone books
  • Paperboard such as frozen dinner boxes, cereal boxes, ink cartridge boxes, milk cartons, etc.
  • Cardboard (broken down)
  • Glass Bottles and Jars
  • Aluminum Cans
  • Tin or Steel Cans such as canned goods

* Please rinse items that contained food before placing in co-mingled recycling.

Items NOT included in the recycling are:

  • Paper towels and Tissues
  • Glassware from labs
  • Styrofoam
  • Plastic Bags
  • Plastic Wraps
  • Food Waste

Mini Blue Recycling Binsblue bin

Facilities Management has mini blue recycling bins available for offices and other smaller common areas such as printing workstations.  To request a blue bin, please call ext 2181 or email  Any item that is accepted by our co-mingled recycling program can go in these bins (see above).  Please do NOT include batteries, cell phones, ink cartridges, toners, etc.  These items are recycled under our Recycling 2.0 program (see below).

Cardboard Boxes 

Cardboard boxes take up lots of room in the recycling dumpster if not broken down properly.
Please follow the following procedures for cardboard boxes:

  • Empty the box of any packaging material, paper, etc.  (if possible, recycle the contents)
  • Break down the box.
  • Place the box on top or on the side of the waste/co-mingle recycle bins (not behind).
  • The custodial staff will pick it up and place it in the recycling dumpster.

This standardized procedure applies for all of main campus and greatly helps our custodial staff and recycling costs.

Increasing Recycling Efficiency and Accountability

Facilities Management is continually striving to improve the efficiency of our recycling program as well as provide accountability to the university as to how and what is being recycled.  The custodial staff picks up both recycling and waste at the same time then places them in the appropriate dumpsters.  In order to make this process more effective, we have switched the recycling bags to a bright green while keeping the trash bags the black or white color.  This serves as a visual reminder to the staff member while providing accountability to the university that everything in our co-mingled recycling containers is being placed in the appropriate dumpster.

Recycling 2.0: Batteries, Ink Cartridges/Toners, & Cell Phones

In November 2012, UNTHSC expanded our university’s recycling program to include ink cartridges, cell phones and batteries through a partnership with Universal Recyclers Technologies. You can either send these items by interoffice mail to FMB 110 or place in the Recycling 2.0 receptacles located in the MET building located near the Four Star Cafe and in the library 2nd floor by the cafe.  Please leave the larger cartridges/toners in their original box to minimize ink leakage.  We only have these two locations due to the fire hazard of collecting batteries.  If you require a special pickup, please contact the Office of Sustainability. Please do NOT place these items in the co-mingle recycling as they require special recycling, and please do NOT leave them in hallways or on the trash/recycle bins as they will not get recycled.  Call 817-735-2451 with questions.

Ink Cartridges & Toners

We accept all types and sizes of ink cartridges and toners. If sending by interoffice mail, please leave the larger cartridges/toners in their original box to minimize ink leakage.  You can place smaller cartridges/toners in an envelope.

Cell Phones

All types of cell phones and accessories are accepted.  Please leave the batteries intact.  If a group on campus has a collection event for cell phones, the Office of Sustainability would be happy to donate any collected cell phones to the cause.


We accept most types of batteries including: alkaline, lead acid, lithium, NiMH, and NiCd.  Please do one of the following:

  • Place each battery in a clear plastic bag
  • Place the batteries in their original packaging
  • Bundle batteries of the same type together, and tape the terminals
  • Tape the terminals of each individual battery

Other Recycling Opportunities on Campus

Other Recycling on Campus

UNTHSC also recycles oil used in its campus fleet, and we began lamp, battery and cell phone recycling in August 2012.  We also work with departments on campus if they are in need of special recycling such as when the library was discarding old books.

Drug-Take Back Program

In its commitment to providing for a safe community, the UNTHSC Police Department collects unused/expired medications and more in a drop box located in the lobby of the Police Department.  Medications and drugs improperly disposed of pose environmental and human health risks (learn more).

Please see below for what is and is not accepted.  Loose pills should be places in a plastic bag provided at the bin.  As needed, the drop box will be emptied by a police officer and all
medications will be securely transported to an appropriate disposal
facility in accordance with the Texas Controlled Substances Act.

Items Accepted  Items NOT Accepted
 Prescriptions  Hydrogen Peroxide
 Prescription Patches  Thermometers
 Prescription Medications  Inhalers
 Prescription Ointments  Needles, or other Sharps
 Over-the-counter Medications  Medication from Businesses or Clinics
 Vitamins  Aerosol Cans
 Samples  Ointments, Lotions, or Liquids
 Medications for Pets  Illegal Substances

See the Drug Drop Box Program for what they accept and more specifics.

Where Can I Recycle...?

Where Can I Recycle ________?

Do you have items that you want to recycle but don’t know where? There are many resources out there to guide you to a drop-off center near you. See below for some ideas, and if you don’t see what you’re looking for, check out to search for recycling centers in your area. They also power an app called iRecycle for Apple and Android products.

Electronic Waste and Ink Cartridges* – This includes cell phones, TVs, computer, laptops, toners and ink cartridges, etc.

* UNTHSC hosted its own E-waste recycling even in April 2013, and we hope to do it again in April 2014.

Compact Florescent Lamps (CFLs) – CFLs have mercury in the bulbs which can be released into the environment.

What Else Can I Do?

What Else Can I Do?

Striving to be sustainable and conserving our natural resources is about more than recycling. Want to
do more? Here are some ways to go beyond the bin:

  • Get Involved!Be part of the sustainability efforts here on campus.
  • Become Part of the Conversation – Check out our Facebook page and join in on the conversation. We post events, news, tips, and more!   Click here to check it out.
  • Have an Idea? – Suggest new initiatives or give feedback to the Office of Sustainability. Contact us here.