By UW Recycling | Jul 26, 2019
File cabinets, chairs and paper

For many workplaces across the University of Washington, summer can be a time to tidy up offices and get rid of unused equipment, or even move spaces. Cleaning up or moving out of an office is not an easy task. Not sure where to start? UW Recycling has some general guidelines to follow to get rid of your unwanted items.

First: use UW Surplus

UW Surplus takes unwanted items, resells what they can and recycle most of the things that cannot be sold. If your unwanted item was purchased with University funds, regardless of condition, it must be transferred to UW Surplus. You can either make a request for pickup with a delivery fee or drop off the item at no cost. Both options require you to fill out the Surplus Request Form that can be found here. The Surplus Warehouse is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

UW Surplus will accept the following items if purchased with UW funds:

  • Office furniture
  • Electronics in working or non-working condition
    • includes anything with electronic components
  • Office supplies like binders or folders
    • in working or non-working condition
  • Office or Lab furniture
  • Hardbound books
    • in good condition
  • Non-hazardous Lab equipment & components
    • in working or non-working condition
  • Large items with mostly metal components
  • Reusable lab glass
    • as long as it's sanitized
  • Anything reusable that UW Surplus can sell

If your unwanted item was not purchased with University funds, you can reduce waste by helping it get reused! You can resell old items via Facebook’s Buy and Sell sites or another resale site online. You can also choose to give unwanted items to charity or thrift stores, which will help to keep the material out of the landfill.

Next: connect with UW Recycling

When the item is not in a condition to be given away, you can minimize waste by recycling. Recycling can help reduce the amount of stuff that goes into the landfill, and can reduce the energy we use making new products with raw materials. If you have a large amount of one type of item, please contact and let us know what you need and we'll be happy to accommodate.

Getting rid of a lot of paper?

UW Recycling provides temporary mixed paper toters for performing large non-confidential paper cleanouts. The standard one-week loan is for two reserved 96-gallon mixed paper toters, which each hold about ten boxes worth of paper. To determine if records are approved to be recycled, review the Records Retention Schedule for your item. You can also review the Paper Reduction page for tips on how to cut down on future paper use. 

If you have other items to dispose of, please review the list below to determine if any of the materials can be reused or recycled.

UW Recycling collects:

  • eMedia (non-confidential)
    • This includes small quantities of batteries, tapes and discs — including their cases.  Small quantities can be placed in an eMedia bin. Find your closest eMedia bin on the Campus Sustainability Map.
    • For large quantities, please box up items, label "recycling" and submit a Boxed Recyclables online request form.
  • Toner cartridges
    • For small quantities (under six cartridges), please take them to a cartridge collection area.  The closest toner cartridge collection spot can be found on the Campus Sustainability Map.
    • Place cartridges in a box, label each box with the contents (“toner cartridges for recycling”). For large quantities (six or more cartridges), please fill out a Boxed Recyclables online request form.
  • Styrofoam
    • Rigid Polystyrene Styrofoam, flexible Polyethylene Styrofoam and packing peanuts are recyclable. All other foam must go in the garbage. Please remove all tape and labels and separate materials per our Styrofoam recycling guide in clear plastic bags. Bags for large quantities of Styrofoam can be requested here. Once full, put bags on the loading dock and e-mail to request a pickup.
  • Hardbound books (in poor condition)
    • Box up the books, label the boxes with their contents (“hard covered books for recycling”) and then fill out our Boxed Recyclables online request form.
    • For large volumes of books (over 35 boxes), request a Gaylord Temporary container to collect books and request a pickup from UW Recycling after all books have been gathered. Please make sure to keep hardbound and softbound books separate because they go through different recycling process!
  • Plastic film
    • Plastic film includes clean and dry plastic bags, bubble wrap, deflated air pillows, and shrink wrap. Transport it to your building's plastic film container at your loading dock. Plastic film can also be consolidated in a plastic bag and tied it off. Clean, consolidated and bagged plastic film can be placed in internal recycling bins. Keep in mind that all plastic film has be to be clean and without food contamination. If the plastic film has been in contact with food, please put it in the garbage.
  • Scrap metal
    • Please box up small items and label "recycling."  Then fill out our Boxed Recyclables online request form
    • For large items, either send to UW Surplus (above) or transport down to your building's loading dock/dumpster service area, take a picture of the material and send an e-mail and the picture to to let us know it's there and we'll pick it up.
  • Wood
    • For large wood items, first ask UW Surplus (above) if they will accept them. If not, please transport it to your building's loading dock/dumpster service area, take a picture, and send an e-mail with the picture attached to to let us know it's there so we can schedule a pickup.

You can also check the disposal guidelines to make sure how your item should be recycled. If you have any additional questions, feel free to send an e-mail to UW Recycling.