The Three General Rules


1. Paper can be recycled if it isn't mixed with plastic or foil, and if it isn't food soiled. Food soiled paper belongs in Food Plus Compost bins, and plastic or foil-lined paper belongs in bins labeled "trash" or "landfill."


2. Most plastics are recyclable, including bottles, jugs, caps, cups, lids, jars, tubs, pails, and buckets in the barrels labeled "plastics" or "aluminum, plastic, glass, tin." Syrofoam and plastic bags, however, are NOT recyclable on campus.


3. Only corrugated cardboard should go in the cardboard recycling. Items such as cereal boxes belong in "mixed paper" barrels.


Please recycle the following materials:





Mixed Paper


  • Notebook paper
  • Spiral notebooks (Metal spirals can be recycled, but plastic ones need to be removed.)
  • Computer paper
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Phone books
  • Text books
  • Envelopes
  • Post-it notes
  • Paperboard
  • Waxed food/drink containers (milk carton)
  • Paper coffee cups
  • Plastic notebook spirals/covers
  • Laminated paper
  • Used paper plates
  • Q-Tips
  • Cotton balls
  • Tissues
  • Used paper towels
  • Sticker backing

Plastic Containers


  • All colors and numbers 1-7 of bottles
  • Cold beverage cups & lids
  • Hot beverage lids
  • Jugs, cups, jars, tubs
  • Pails and buckets
  • Dairy, deli food, sauce/condiment & cooking oil containers without clamshell hinges
  • Soap, detergent, & household cleaner containers
  • Snack food & frozen food containers
  • Hair/body care bottles and containers


  • Plastic grocery bags
  • Thin plastic film
  • Ziploc bags


Aluminum/ Tin


  • All types of cans
  • Clean aluminum foil
  • Microwave meal boxes with foil inside
  • Metallic food wrappers



  • All colors and types of bottles accepted
  • Mirrors
  • Windows



  • Corrugated cardboard ONLY (thick and durable)
  • Break down all of your boxes before recycling them
  • Paperboard (Cereal boxes, tissue boxes)
  • Mixed paper of any kind





The following items are NOT recyclable in Bellingham:

  • Milk & juice cartons
  • Paper coffee cups (these are compostable, though!)
  • Hinged/clamshell containers
  • Styrofoam
  • The following plastic products:
    • overhead transparencies
    • plastic caps
    • sticker backing
    • rings
    • pumps
    • hinged/clamshell containers
    • bags
    • wrap
    • tableware/utensils
    • pipe
    • toys
  • Insulation or plastic containers that held potentially hazardous products such as:
    • motor oil
    • antifreeze
    • solvents
    • pesticides, etc
  • Plate glass (such as mirrors or dishes)