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Recycling Bins in Every Student Residence

Late night pizza delivery is synonymous with studying at college. But what do students do with those pizza boxes and piles of journal articles when they're done with them? Recycling these items is what the Office of Sustainability would like all students to do. Now, thanks to an initiative by Residential Services, it is even easier for students to recycle in their residence halls. 

This summer, Ozzie Breiner (Director of Residential Services) purchased 1,070 recycling containers: one for each room in residence halls across campus. The bins match the style and color of the more than 600 blue bins that were distributed to offices across campus during the 2013-2014 academic year. Apartments on campus have a large recycling bin in the common areas and Fraternities and Sororities each have five large recycling containers per house. Now, every student living in Lehigh University owned housing has easy access to a recycling bin! 

The program was developed after an Eco-Reps pilot project showed that recycling bins in rooms would increase the recycling rate. In the pilot phase, Eco-Reps placed bins in each room in one residence hall and measured changes to recycling rates through waste audits and interviews with residents. Similar measurements were done on a control hall (similar size, population, location) to show that individual recycling bins would increase recycling rates. A survey of current Lehigh students also revealed that a large majority of students thought Lehigh should provide recycling bins for student residences. 

Upon hearing the pilot test results, Residential Services committed to placing recycling bins in each dorm. The department has long been an ally of sustainability efforts on campus and a supporter of the Eco-Reps program. 

This program supports Lehigh University's sustainability goals for waste reduction and recycling. The 2012 Sustainability Plan states that the university commits to "eliminate recyclables in the waste stream and ensure our recyclables are recycled in a sustainable manner." By placing recycling bins in each student hall on campus, our university has once again committed to continuously improving the recycling program and working to reduce waste production in our campus facilities. 

Tips for students with a new recycling bin:

  • Know what is recyclable. Check out the recycling poster for more information
  • Rinse out all containers before placing them in the recycle bins. This makes the products easier to recycle and keeps your bin clean! 


For more information about what can be recycled in Lehigh's single-stream recycling system, please visit our recycling site: