By UW Recycling | Sep 7, 2023

2 min. to read

There are plenty of common questions that come up when talking to new Huskies on campus. UW Recycling is here to provide some answers below:

Do coffee cups from campus go in the recycling or compost bin?

  • Hot and cold coffee cups from campus (including Starbucks) are compostable.
    • Coffee cups purchased on the Ave. are not compostable and should be recycled.

What should I do with bottle caps and lids?

  • Lids that are larger than 3 inches in diameter can go in a recycling bin.
  • Lids that are smaller than 3 inches should go into the garbage.
  • Small plastic bottle caps that are screwed onto an empty plastic bottle can go into a recycling bin.
  • Lids labeled "WorldCentric", "INGEO", "Compost Me" and/or "100% compostable" can go in a compost bin.

Aluminum cans are recyclable, so foil should be too, right?

  • Yes, aluminum foil and food pans can be placed in a recycling bin if the item is clean and empty.

Which takeout containers are recyclable and which are compostable?

  • 95% of the packaging and serviceware used for takeout containers on campus are compostable, but read the label to be sure.
  • Items with a recycle symbol with numbers 1-6 cannot be composted.

How do I recycle small electronics and batteries on campus?

  • At the UW, batteries, cell phones, calculators and other small electronics are recycled through eMedia bins. They're located in over 70 buildings on campus, including the HUB and all residence halls.

A pizza box is made of cardboard, so it should go in the recycling bin, right?

  • Actually, any food-soiled paper product should go into the compost bin, including pizza boxes or napkins.

What do the numbers in the chasing arrows mean?

  • The number within the recycle symbol only indicates what type of plastic resin is used to make the product.
  • On campus and in Seattle, we recycle based on shape: typically bottles, jugs (like an empty gallon of milk or laundry detergent), non-compostable cups and  tubs (such as empty yogurt or hummus containers) are recyclable types of plastic.

For more information about how to dispose of specific items on campus, check out the UW Recycling Disposal Guide or email UW Recycling at Check out UW Recycling’s online course if you want to learn more about recycling and waste diversion.