Quick Links:
Paper and Cardboard
Waste and Recycling Presentation
Waste and Recycling Chart
Desk-side Recycling Bins
City of Hamilton Waste and Recycling Resource Information
Hamilton Health Sciences Waste and Recycling Information

Please note that McMaster has a different waste services provider than the City of Hamilton, for more information on City waste guidelines, please click here.

Paper & Cardboard (Back to top)

What can be recycled:
Fine paper, newsprint, glossy magazines
Corrugated cardboard
Egg cartons & drink trays
Paper with staples, paper clips or spiral wire binding
Phone books, textbooks & courseware
What cannot be recycled:
Carbon paper (garbage)
Wet or dirty paper or cardboard (organics)
Pizza Boxes (organics)
Plastic lined coffee cups (garbage)
Paper coffee cups (organics)

Note: Please flatten all cardboard before placing in bins or dumpsters


Containers (Back to top)

What can be recycled:
Beverage and food cans
Glass jars and bottles
Milk cartons
Clean take-out containers
Tetra type packaging
Bottle caps
VHS tapes
Foil lids, e.g., yogurt seals
All plastics (#1-7)
What cannot be recycled:
Bottles & cans with liquid in them (garbage)
Non-container plastics such as straws, plastic cutlery & DVD cases

Non-Recyclables (Back to top)

One might wonder why there's an entire section dedicated to
non-recyclables on a recycling webpage - a valid question
from an uninformed observer. The truth is, understanding what can't be
recycled is in many ways MORE important than knowing what can be recycled - why?

When one aluminum can gets put in a garbage bin, it doesn't get recycled - this is sometimes an unavoidable event, when people are rushed, or appropriate receptacles are not available. But if a few errant coffee cups get mistaken tossed into a recycling bin, a whole day's collection is lost. It's called contamination, and while the majority of it comes from careless disposal, a significant portion results from misinformation.

Contamination is of great concern at McMaster University. In some cases, the offending pieces of garbage can be removed and the recyclables saved, but far too often there are too many contaminants to sort out. At one time, a staggering 90 percent of outdoor recycling bins were being contaminated beyond salvage every day - that means that a few careless or uninformed individuals were undoing all the recycling efforts of their comrades.

That's why we've dedicated a whole section to a list of items commonly mistaken for recyclables. But if you're ever confronted with a questionable recyclable, just THROW IT OUT... and take the time to follow up so that next time, you'll know what to do.

What should go into the waste receptacle?

  • Plastic lined coffee cups
  • Non-recyclable packaging
  • Ceramics
  • Tissue
  • Aerosol cans (empty & non-hazardous)
  • Cloth items

Compost (Back to top)

Working with McMaster's Waste Services Provider, BFI, and Compost Service Providers, Planet Earth and Walker Environmental Group, McMaster has successfully expanded its composting program beyond Mary E. Keyes to include all of the following areas:

Mary E. Keyes

Composting of all food scraps and other organic material from Mary E. Keyes kitchen and dining area.

Bridges Café

Composting of all food scraps and other organic material from Bridges' kitchen.

Twelve Eighty

Composting of all food scraps and other organic material from Twelve Eighty's kitchen and dining area.

Union Market

Composting of food scraps and organic material such as coffee grinds, sugar packets, wooden stir sticks, coffee cups and bagel crumbs.

La Piazza

Composting of food scraps and other organic material from the main La Piazza kitchen area.

Many Offices across campus including the MSU Main Office and the Student Success Centre

Composting expansion start date: April 4, 2011

List of Acceptable Items:

  • All food waste
  • Kitchen paper towels & napkins
  • Paper plates
  • Pizza boxes & pizza slice trays
  • Paper coffee cups
  • Paper food wrapping

Items that do not go in:

  • Plastic lined coffee cups (garbage)
  • Glass
  • Metal
  • Plastic
  • Hazardous waste

Where does McMaster's composting go?

All organic material is taken away daily by composting hauler, Planet Earth, to the Walker Environmental Group Compost facility in Thorold, Ontario. The end product of high quality soil blends, compost, and mulches are used by the agricultural and landscaping industries.

Waste Free Events

In addition, food composting helped facilitate waste-free events beginning in 2009 for the first time at McMaster.
The organic waste is sent to one of McMaster’s two composting programs mentioned above. Please contact the Office of Sustainability if you would like to co-ordinate composting for your waste-free event.

Desk-side Recycling Bins (Back to top)

Unsure of what should go into your desk-side recycling bin?

Desk-side recycling bins are intended for paper products. Fine paper, cardboard, envelopes etc. can all be placed in your desk-side recycling bin.

On main campus, paper is taken from your office once every ten business days. Recycling and waste from the central recycling bins is removed daily.

If you have items such as food, pop cans, coffee cups or plastic bottles they should be brought to one of the central waste or recycling bins in your area.

Please note that custodians do not sort items from the garbage or recycling bins. It is up to the individual to properly place their own waste and recyclables into the correct container. If a bin is found to contain items other than paper products it is considered ‘contaminated’. Items from contaminated bins must be placed into the garbage to avoid further contamination of recycling from bins that have been properly sorted.

City of Hamilton Waste and Recycling Resource Information (Back to top)

Green Bin

How to Use
What Goes In

Blue Bin

Need A Blue Box
What Goes In

Garbage Bin

What goes in

Hamilton Health Sciences Waste and Recycling Information (Back to top)

HHS Recycling Poster

HHS General Waste Protocol

HHS General Recycling Protocol


March 2, 2012