Recycling @ Upstate

On October 6, 2010, Upstate's campus-wide recycling program, Recycling Starts with You, will kick off, building on many recycling successes already in place. Our goal is to recycle 2/3 of the estimated 2,000 tons of paper, plastic, glass, food, packaging and other "stuff" we add to the waste stream each year.

Recycling Summary

Each year Upstate submits a recycling and waste report to the state including what and how much was recycled during the year, along with any new recycling initiatives adopted.

In the most recent report (2012-2013) PDF document the combined totals were:

  • 1,867 tons of waste disposed
  • 504 tons of material recycled
  • 7 tons of glass, cans & plastic recycled

While these numbers are impressive, the individual efforts that went into achieving these goals are numerous. A few of the efforts taking place at Upstate include:


  • Used computers, monitors, & electronic equipment
  • Plastic, glass, aluminum, & paper
  • Construction & demolition debris
  • Tires
  • Batteries
  • Motor oil
  • Organic materials, such as leaves, wood chips, & grass clippings


  • Recyclable Sharps programs
  • Double sided printing & copying
  • Use of neutral cleaners & chemical dilution systems
  • Separation of medical waste from solid waste
  • A mop system that reduces fresh water use by 400 gallons/day
  • Use of wash rags and squeegees for cleaning instead of paper towels


  • Recycled floor mats
  • Floor care machines that use less water & chemicals
  • Seeking out contracts for cheaper materials and services, such as purchasing bathroom products from the NY State Deaf/Blind program

Planning & Research

  • Creating campus wide sustainability groups & recycling awareness campaigns
  • Reviewing new products to recycle, such as disposable curtains & sterile wrap
  • Developing a mercury reduction program that seeks to replace mercury thermometers & pressure cuffs with less hazardous, digital & alcohol thermometers
  • Reviewing light systems & fluorescent bulb recycling programs
  • Investigating a collaborative recycling partnership with the Upstate Foundation & Wal-Mart to collect used cell phones and printer cartridges, with proceeds that benefit Upstate