Recycling refers to the process of collecting and processing materials that would have otherwise been sent to landfills or incinerators. Items that are placed in designated recycling bins are collected and sent to processing facilities, where they are then sorted and transferred to the appropriate manufacturing facilities to be converted into new products. 

Recycling is a fundamental component of sustainability because instead of burning or landfilling disposable waste, we help conserve natural resources, protect natural ecosystems, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Over flooding from coastal landfills–especially in combination with rising sea levels–sends trash into our seas which harms marine life, contributes to water pollution, and disrupts natural ecosystems. Moreover, the incineration of inorganic waste requires the use of natural resources such as water, fuel, metal, and timber, which emit large amounts of carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the atmosphere.

The University of Michigan-Dearborn is committed to reducing the amount of campus waste sent to landfills, but we need your help! The average American consumer produces approximately 1,642 pounds of waste in a given year. During the 2022-2023 academic year, there were a total of 8,224 students enrolled at UM-Dearborn. Take 1,642 pounds of waste multiplied by 8,224 students, and you have enough waste to weigh equal to that of 54 average-sized blue whales. While it may not always feel like individual actions make a difference, taking the time to place plastics, paper, and other recyclable materials into the appropriate bin can significantly reduce the amount of waste that each of us produces annually.

For more information about what materials belong in the recycling bins at UM-Dearborn, visit our ‘What Goes Where?” web page using the button below!

Recycling Hub for Special Items

You might be wondering… what is the Recycling Hub for Special Items, and why do we need it? The hub's purpose is to provide an outlet to recycle items that do not belong in the traditional blue recycle bins seen throughout campus.

Launched in August 2023, the Recycling Hub for Special Items pilot is brought to you through a partnership between the Planet Blue Ambassador program, Mardigian Library, and Facilities Operations. The hub is located just inside the entrance of the Mardigian Library near the main staircase. We are currently accepting two item types at the hub:

  • Writing utensils that have reached the end of their useful life, including pens, pencils, and markers.
  • Plastic bags, including grocery bags and plastic shipping bags (such as those received from FedEx).
  • Eclipse Glasses, for a limited time only!! Please donate by 4pm on Tuesday, April 30.

Fill out the Special Items Recycling Request if there are other items you'd like to be able to recycle on campus.

Sustainability at UM-Dearborn

1200 - Campus Support Services Building
4901 Evergreen Road
Dearborn, MI 48128
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