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

4 min. to read

Summer can be a good time to tidy up offices, get rid of unused equipment or move spaces at the UW. 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.

Use UW Surplus

UW Surplus takes unwanted items, resells what they can and recycles 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.

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

  • Office furniture or lab furniture
  • Electronics (in working or non-working condition)
  • Office supplies like binders or folders (in working or non-working condition)
  • 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 reselling or donating the item.

Connect with UW Recycling

When the item is not in a condition to be given away, you can minimize waste by recycling. If you have a large amount of one type of item, please contact recycle@uw.edu.

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 (one paper toter holds 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 check out the Paper Reduction page for tips on how to cut down on 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)
  • 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 your building's loading dock and e-mail recycle@uw.edu 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. After all books have been gathered, request a pickup from UW Recycling. Please make sure to keep hardbound and softbound books separate because they go through different recycling process!
  • Softbound books
    • Softbound books can go into any mixed paper or all-in-one recycling container, but please reach out to UW Recycling if disposing large volumes so that your building’s normal recycling containers are not overloaded.
  • 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.  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 metal items, first ask UW Surplus (above) if they will accept them. If not, please transport items to your building's loading dock/dumpster service area, take a picture, and send an e-mail with the picture attached to recycle@uw.edu to let us know it's there so we can schedule a pickup.
  • Wood
    • For large wood items, first ask UW Surplus (above) if they will accept them. If not, please transport the items to your building's loading dock/dumpster service area, take a picture, and send an e-mail with the picture attached to recycle@uw.edu to let us know it's there so we can schedule a pickup.

You can also check the disposal guide to see how to sort your item. If you have additional questions, send an e-mail to UW Recycling at recycle@uw.edu.