New Sustainable Waste Map launches at Cornell

Campus Sustainability Office, Student Intern July 15, 2019

Waste locations may change during COVID 19. Core support for recycling and electronics remains.
Building access is varied, please check with individual locations. 


Wondering where you can dispose of batteries, or compost on campus? 

The Campus Sustainability Office has launched a Sustainable Waste Map detailing locations on campus where Cornell community members can recycle, compost, reuse, share materials, and dispose of waste like electronic goods. The map includes locations for:

  • Batteries and electronic items

  • Reuse and share centers, like clothing swaps or office supply stations

  • Compost locations in dining halls, residential communities, and more

  • Terracycle recycling locations which accept Burt's Bees packaging, contact lenses packaging, oral hygiene products, energy bar wrappers, EOS products, razors, beauty and personal care products and solo cups.

  • Kitchen and cooking locations, including kitchen appliances available to the Cornell community or residential hall members, in order to facilitate use of shared appliances

The map does not provide a list of standard recycling bins on campus, which are available in numerous locations throughout most public and building areas. 

Brush up on the current recycling guidelines and other waste disposal tips to make sure you know how to dispose of goods.

Check out the Map


Visit the full map to explore locations, or find directions using Google Maps. 
Note that the sustainability maps landing page includes the Waste Map, and two additional Cornell Sustainability Maps.  This page links to an accessible version of the map.


More about the map:

Cornell University R5 Operations  is responsible for the main recycling and landfill bins across campus, and most other locations are independently maintained by student organizations, select units & offices, or residential communities. Thus, this map is meant to act as a landing page for all "alternative campus waste" disposal stations.

These groups and initiatives are working to create a more sustainable campus by increasing the amount of good that can be properly disposed of on campus:

  • Anabel’s Grocery, a student-run grocery store working to combat campus food insecurity issues, compiled the list of community microwaves and fridges.  By using shared kitchen appliances, Cornell can cut down on the number of individual appliances.  These appliances are hard to dispose of and use a lot of water, energy, and materials to create.  By sharing common resources, we can reduce our overall impact.

  • The Terracycle bins accept energy bar wrappers, oral hygiene products and beauty and personal care packaging, among other items. These secondary recycling locations are maintained by the Society for Natural Resources Conservation (SNRC). Students in SNRC have worked with Terracycle, a national company "recycling the non-recyclable," to increase the types of materials we can sustainably dispose of on campus.  Students in SNRC are responsible for selecting drop-off locations, and picking up  materials which are then mailed Terracycle for processing. 
  • Cornell Thrift is an undergraduate club that aims to reduce campus‐wide waste through reuse & repurposing materials. The club holds frequent Mending Workshops and maintain a swap location called Ezra's Exchange, where community members can repurpose their clothing for free.  Find locations on the map or visit their website for details. 
  • Composting is now available in most residential communities after the launch of the Residential Compost Program in FY18-19. Collaboratively maintained by volunteer student managers and Cornell R5 Operations, the program enables students to compost on North & West campus.
  • Cornell's recycling and waste management operations team, Cornell R5 Operations provides on-campus electronics recycling locations, compost at dining operations, compost drop spots, battery recycling stations, and employee-centered reuse centers such as the Office and Business Reuse Center. The five "Rs" in their title stand for Respect, Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! 
  • The Facilities And Campus Services (FCS) Green Team manages an Office Swap Closet called “Humph-Frees” in the Humphreys Service Building. 
  • The Ecology House, one of Cornell’s undergraduate program houses, has several independent recycling programs indicated on the map. 
  • Cornell Health securely disposes of confidential medical products. The improper disposal of old and unused medication can pose significant health risks. The map layers are updated biannually or annually.

The Waste Map was designed by an intern at the Campus Sustainability Office to both promote and inform people about the importance of reducing the footprint of our materials through sustainable end-of-lifecycle alternatives to the typical landfill route. The accessible version of the map was created as part of a university-wide effort to implement web accessibility in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act and W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.

Story written by Naomi Haber, Campus Sustainability Office Engagement Intern (Summer 2019)

For more information about waste stations on campus, contact Cornell R5 Operations  or ask our staff.