Skip to:Main Content

Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University
Washington and Lee University Campus Image

What May be Recycled at W&L and In Rockbridge County



Traditional Recycling


Cans should be empty and preferably rinsed out and not crushed. Pie tins and foils (balled up) may also be recycled after food is removed and rinsed off.

Final Destination: Aluminum is recycled into new cans.


All colors of glass are accepted. Containers should be empty, preferably rinsed and recycled without caps. Caps and rings may be recycled as hard plastic or scrap metal. No dishes, drinking glasses, mirrors or window or auto glass. Colors may be mixed since the glass is presently being reused for fill material instead of being recycled.

Final Destination: Glass is presently being used in Rockbridge County as a construction fill material.

Mixed Paper 

"Clean mixed paper" includes: printer and copier paper of any color, hard and soft back books, junk mail, newspapers, magazines, and ‘slick’ printed material. Pasteboard (cereal boxes, beer cartons, etc) may be recycled as mixed paper. Window envelopes, staples, tape and the occasional paperclip are OK. Newspaper may be recycled with mixed paper but is better recycled separately. It does not include: paper contaminated by food, metal or plastic spiral bound materials, corrugated cardboard or waxed or plastic coated paper.

Final Destination: Paper is recycled into pasteboard and many other products.


Hard plastic containers (number 1 - 7) should be empty and preferably rinsed out. Bottle caps should be removed and recycled along with the bottle.  Plastic shopping and dry cleaning bags, etc "plastic sheeting" are NOT recycled on campus but they may be recycled off campus at WalMart, Kroger, Food Lion or Lowes. Lowes will also take take plant pots, trays and labels.  Styrofoam is often labeled #6 plastic. It can be recycled but is not accepted by any local recycling program.

Final Destination: The plastic is recycled into polar fleeces, ‘plastic wood' and many other materials.


Non-Traditional Recycling

There are many other items that can be recycled or reused. Please contact for help reusing or recycling items not mentioned on this site or for pickup of large quantities of recyclables. You can also make use of Campus Notices, the University's internal electronic bulletin board or other means to offer the community items that you no longer need.


Antifreeze from University vehicles is recycled by the Mechanics Shop. The Rockbridge County Recycling web site lists local garages that accept antifreeze as well as motor oil.

Final Destination: Antifreeze is refined and reused.


Most retailers of appliances will take away your old washer, dryer, etc when you buy a new one,  If the appliance is still usable contact Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity or another charity.  See Waste Minimization Resources. 


Rechargeable and non rechargeable batteries are accepted at Techno Trash collection sites on campus. Wet cell, lead acid and lithium batteries require special handling. Please email if you have questions or for pick up of these batteries. Automobile batteries may be recycled at auto parts stores or at Auto Recyclers in Buena Vista.  Rechargeable batteries can be recycled at Lowes and other places free of charge.  Consider using rechargeable batteries. They are better for the environment and cheaper to use.   Non rechargeable batteries have to be sent away for an expensive recycling process.  The Facilities Management Electrical and Mechanical shops recycle emergency lighting and automobile batteries.

Final Destination: Battery acids are neutralized and the metals in the batteries are reclaimed.


Hard back and soft back books may be recycled as mixed paper but reuse is a better use. A number of organizations in the area will accept used books. Textbooks may be given to Books For Africa at W&L. The Rockbridge Regional Library, Habitat For Humanity ReStore in Buena Vista, Goodwill Industries and the Rockbridge County Recycling Centers all accept books.

Final Destination: Paper is recycled into pasteboard and many other products.


Corrugated cardboard has two layers with a ribbed section in between. All packing materials and trash should be removed and the box flattened before recycling. Staples and packing tape are OK. Corrigated pizza boxes that are fairly clean may be recycled. Waxed and plastic coated boxes are unacceptable.

Final Destination: Cardboard is recycled and used to create new cardboard.


Cellphones and PDAs 

Used cell phones, PDAs and other small personal electronics, chargers and other equipment can be recycled in the Techno Trash collection containers.  There are many charities that also accept cellphones and PDAs

Final Destination: Units are refurbished for reuse or the materials are recycled.


Many manufacturers and retail sellers of computers offer customers recycling services when you purchase new equipment.  Goodwill accepts computers and other Ewaste as does Auto Recyclers in Buena Vista.  Computer components EXCEPT CRT monitors owned by individuals may be recycled with Techno Trash. Please mark any working devices "OK" or mark with a green dot on the bottom or back so they can be sorted for reuse. All university owned computer components should be returned to Information Technology Services (ITS).  ITS has a computer retirement policy (bottom of page) for the reuse and recycling of used equipment. Final Destination: A private company destroys the data, resells good parts and recycles unusable parts in an environmentally responsible fashion.


Clean clothes, bed linens and curtains can be donated to the local Goodwill Industry Store (Route 60 east of town, 464-1117) Final Destination: Items are sold to generate funds for charitable works.

Electronic Storage Media 

All sorts of storage devices can be recycled in the Techno Trash bins. This includes: CDs, DVDs, floppy discs, audio, video and computer tapes and cassettes.  CDs & DVDs as well as crystal cases may be recycled as plastic

Final Destination: High quality plastics are recycled into various products.


Eye Glasses and Frames 

Prescription and nonprescription glasses as well as cases may be recycled with Techno Trash. The local Lions Club collects them for their eyeglass recycling program. There is a Lions Club collection site at The New Opticians in Lexington.

Final Destination: Donated to the local Lions Club for refurbishing and reuse by those in need.

Fluorescent Lights 

Fluorescent light bulbs and C.F.L. bulbs contain toxic mercury. University fluorescent bulbs and ballasts are recycled by the Electrical Department. Projector bulbs are also recycled. Personal CFL bulbs can be recycled free of charge at Lowes and Home Depot stores.

Final Destination: Bulbs contain mercury and other materials that are recovered and reused.


Uncooked food from the Elrod Commons and Evans Dining Hall is composted on campus by the kompost krewe for use in the Campus Garden. University Dining Services also gives Campus Kitchen Project food that has been prepared but not served. Non perishable food may be donated to the Campus Kitchen Project or the Rockbridge Area Food Pantry at 350 Spottswood Drive, Lexington 463-6642. The Rockbridge Area Information Line lists more organizations that distribute food to those in need.

Final destination:  Food that has been on a serving line and plate scrapings is sent to the landfill.

Freon & Refrigerants 

Refrigerant gases are extremely powerful greenhouse gases when released into the atmosphere.  The plumbing shop recycles all refrigerants when servicing or decommissioning appliances.

Final Destination: Freon is reused on campus or returned to the manufacturer.



Personal furniture may be donated to the Habitat for Humanity Stores at 114 Walker Street, Lexington 464-4663 and in the Forest Park Shopping Center in Buena Vista 261 5042 (for larger items and construction materials). Pickup of materials may be arranged by contacting the stores. Goodwill Industries also accepts furniture as well as clothing and other items. The store is at 8 Woodcote Lane, east of Lexington on Route 60, phone 464-1117.

Final Destination: Furniture is sold to raise money for affordable housing projects in the Rockbridge area (Habitat) or to help disabled individuals (Goodwill).


Grease from deep fat fryers and grease traps is collected by outside vendors. Some is used to make biodiesel for use in farm machinery and some is used in the production of pet foods.

Final Destination: Grease is used in the production of pet foods and biodiesel.


Greenware is food service items like knives, forks, spoons, plates and bowls, cups and cup lids, paper napkins and 'clamshell' take out containers that are made from plants and may be composted. Some, but not all, of the greenware that is used at W&L is composted and the compost is used in the Campus Garden.

Final destination:  Turned into compost that can be used to enrich soils.

Hazardous Materials 

Hazardous materials are dealt with in an environmentally responsible fashion. Rockbridge County Recycling Department holds a household hazardous waste collection day each spring.

Final Destination: Some materials can be neutralized, some reclaimed, some incinerated and some encapsulated and then land filled.

Monitors and TVs 

Cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions and computer monitors that do not work may be recycled at Goodwill Industries in Lexington. CRTs that work MAY be accepted by Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity. Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) televisions and monitors that do not work can be recycled at Goodwill or donated to other charities.

Final destination: The leaded glass in CRTs is recycled for reuse.


Motor Oil and Filters 

Motor oil from University vehicles is recycled by the Mechanics Shop. Rockbridge County Recycling keeps a list of businesses where citizens may recycle used oil and oil filters in the County for free.

Final Destination: Oil is refined and reused and oil filters are recycled as scrap metal.


When you leave town please consider recycling your unwanted possessions (clothes, furniture, books, etc) by contributing them to charity instead of throwing usable things away. Please see Leaving Lexington for more information.


Newspapers are collected by the University Store and the Leyburn and Law School libraries. Remove 'slick' colored inserts and recycle them with mixed paper. Tie bundles with jute or cotton string or put in a paper bag. Papers must be dry.

Final Destination: Newspapers are used by a local picture frame company for shipping or are recycled into newsprint.

Office Supplies 

Auxiliary Services should be notified when considering the disposal of University property. Campus Notices can be used to locate community members that can reuse materials that would otherwise be discarded.  Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity will also accept office supplies.


Organic Material 

Compost is made from uncooked food from Dining Services and animal bedding from the Science building that is collected by the kompost krewe. Leaves that are collected on campus are used to mix with these materials to make compost. The compost is used to enrich the soil in the Campus Garden.

Final Destination: Food scraps are collected nightly by the kompost krew and turned into compost for front campus grounds and the Campus Garden.


Wood pallets are collected for reused by the Grounds Department. Some food service companies that sell to W&L use their own reusable pallets.

Final Destination: Available for reuse or sold for reuse.

Packaging materials

Packing materials ('peanuts' and 'air bags' are collected by the University Store and at the Leyburn and Law School libraries. Local stores like Pack and Mail and UPS in Lexington will gladly accept clean packing materials. Some packing peanuts are made from plant starch and will dissolve in water. These may be used to make compost or as a soil amendment.

Final Destination: Reused on campus.

Plastic bags

Plastic single use shopping bags may be recycled at local groceriy stores - Krogers, Food Lion and Walmart.  These bags and all other plastic sheeting is NOT accepted as plastic on campus or by any of the local recycling programs. 

Final Destination:  Used to make plastic wood and moe plastic bags.

Prescription Drugs 

Unneeded and out of date prescription drugs should be safely disposed to make sure they do not harm people or the environment. The Rockbridge Area Free Clinic may be able to use the drugs or you may able to take them to a drug take back program. Flushing drugs down a toilet may contaminate ground water. Pills should not be put into the trash without crushing them. For more information see the F.D.A. guidelines.

Final destination:  Use by those in need or other safe disposal methods.

Printer Cartridges 

Laser toner print cartridges are recycled by I.T.S. in support of Project Nicaragua. You can take cartridges to ITS in Tucker Hall, send them to ITS via campus mail or leave them in the Techno Trash bins on campus.  Biz Hub cartridges may be recycled by putting them in Cmapus Mail.  Ink jet cartridges are contributed to the Natural Bridge Rescue Squad. Put ink jets and toner cartridges in plastic bags before putting them in a Techno Trash bin.

Final Destination: Cartridges are refurbished and resold.



Medical sharps may be disposed of safely by taking them in an approved sharps container (avilable from pharmacies) to the Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital in Lexington the first Wednesday of each month from 9 - 11.  Call  540 458 3171

Final destination:  Medical waste is incinerated at special facilities.

Scrap Metal 

Metals of all types, including small appliances, wire and pipe, is collected for recycling by Facilities Management.  Rockbridge County Recycling also accepts scrap metal as does Auto Recyclers in Buena Vista.

Final destination:  Metals are melted down, separated and reused.

Smoke Detectors 

Ionization type smoke detectors contain a small amount of radioactive material. Most manufacturers will accept non working ionization type detectors that they made. List of manufacturers.

Final destination:  Radioactive materials are reused.

Surplus Materials 

Surplus materials (furniture, office equipment, etc) that belong to the University are reused or sold at auctions held on campus by Auxiliary Services.

Techno Trash 

The following may be recycled as Techno Trash: batteries, eyeglasses and frames, printer cartridges, cell phones and small electronic devices, computers and accessories.  Here is a more comprehensive description of how to recycle T. Trash and what items are accepted.  Here is a list of Techno Trash can locations.  Please email if you have questions, need a pick up of large volumes of Techno Trash or if a T. Trash bin is full.

'Tin' Cans 

'Tin' or steel food cans may be recycled as scrap metal or through the Lexington or Rockbridge County recycling programs.

Final Destination: The cans are recycled as scrap metal.