How to Recycle

GW is reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills while increasing recycling, reuse and composting. GW has single-stream recycling, so all recycleable items should be placed in the same container. Items should be clean and empty. Contamination occurs when items that are not recycleable end up in the recycling stream. Help reduce contamination by placing items in the correct bin for disposal.

In addition to recycling, GW also diverts waste from the landfill through composting.  Learn more about the GW Compost program.

Recycling Basics


Landfill examples illistration


  • Dirty Food and Drink Containers
  • Straws and Plastic Utensils
  • Tissues, Paper Towels, Napkins
  • Plastic Wrap, Plastic Bags
  • Styrofoam
  • Candy and Snack Packaging
Recycling examples Illustration


  • Plastic Cups and Containers
  • Flattened Cardboard
  • Milk, Juice, and Soup Cartons
  • Newspapers, Magazines and Books
  • Junk Mail and Office Paper
  • Plastic Bottles and Lids
  • Steel and Aluminum Bottles, Cans, and Containers
  • Glass Bottles and Jars

Recycling Textiles

  • According to the Council for Textile Recycling, each year the average American throws out about 70 pounds of clothing and other textiles like sheets and towels.
  • Consider where an item comes from before purchasing textiles.  Shopping secondhand or holding a clothing swap with friends or hallmates are great options.
  • Pay attention to clothing labels that indicate how to properly wash and dry your items. When an item has worn out, extend the life of your clothing and other textiles by repairing or repurposing. 
  • To keep textiles out of the waste stream, GW students should recycle unwanted textiles in the clothing donation bins found in Potomac House, South Hall, Shenkman Hall, District House, Amsterdam Hall and the DW Clock Tower on the Mount Vernon Campus.  Items do not need to be in good enough condition to be resold, but should be clean, dry, and odorless.  Remember, textiles are not trash!  

Recycling Electronics

Printer and copier toner cartridges should be returned to the manufacturer for recycling in the original packing, where possible.  If returning it directly to the manufacturer is not possible, submit a Fix-It request online to request pick-up.

In addition, GW provides e-cycling towers where students, faculty, and staff can deposit batteries, small ink print cartridges, cell phones, and CFL bulbs at these locations:

  • University Student Center (Ground Floor next to elevator)

  • Science and Engineering Hall (1st Floor West)

  • Gelman Library (Basement Level 2).

  • Shenkman Hall (1st Floor Elevators)

  • Mitchell Hall (Basement)

  • West Hall @ Mount Vernon Campus (Lower Level 1)

  • District House (Level B-1 on H Street side near restrooms)

  • Enterprise Hall @ VSTC (Loading Dock)

Dispose of computers (CPUs, laptops, mice, keyboards, printers, and cables), and toner cartridges at the locations below or via a Fix-It request:

  • Academic Center-DIT (801 22nd St)

  • Enterprise Hall (VSTC, 45085 University Drive) Loading Dock