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BYU recycles office paper, newspaper, cardboard, plastic bottles, and aluminum cans, as well as industrial scrap material, such as steel, insulated wire, concrete, and asphalt—about 1,400 tons of paper, plastic and metal per year. BYU also safely collects and recycles potential pollutants, including used oil and grease, batteries, refrigerants, computer components, fluorescent lights, and chemical waste. BYU's comprehensive and efficient recycling program saves the university tens of thousands of dollars in disposal costs and generates revenue from the sale of recycled commodities. Visit the BYU Physical Facilities for details.


RecycleMania is a national collegiate recycling competition held in February and March every year. BYU has participated since 2004, competing against our rival colleges to increase recycling and reduce waste. To encourage reducing waste and increasing recycling awareness, BYU hosts competitions between student housing and uses the data to compare our progress between state and national rivals.

In 2012, we participated by setting a world record of the largest cardboard box castle ever built, replacing Harvard University’s previous record of 564 boxes. Using 734 boxes collected from around campus, engineering students and members of EcoResponse designed a castle, complete with arches, turrets, and cannons. Although we’ve yet to break any more records, we continue to encourage our students to foster their talents, skills, and creativity to create a more sustainable campus and community.


BYU runs a closed-loop composting program where all grass, leaves and branches on campus are gathered, chipped, and composted to be used again as mulch in shrub and flower beds or as an organic component for our engineered soils. We also compost food waste from dining halls, wood from theatrical and television sets and scrap wood from construction projects. We compost approximately 2,000 tons of material each year.

Student-accessible Composting

As of March 2021, students can now drop off food waste at the east entrance of the BYU Greenhouse located at 100 East 820 North, just west and south of Kiwanis Park. Look for the green bins. Composting bags are available (no plastic bags, please).

What can I compost?

  • Plant matter—no non-food items, please
  • Food waste—no meat, dairy, or grease
  • If a vegan can eat it, so can the bin!


BYU Dining Services offers reusable clamshell takeout boxes at the Cannon Commons. The G.E.T. Ecotakeout containers are used in place of disposable styrofoam containers and can be put in the dishwasher or microwave.


Employees of the Print and Mail Production Center carefully take into consideration the environment and the ecology of the community in everything they do. For example, Print and Mail has transferred the laundering of shop rags to a professional cleaner since they are better equipped to deal with the ink residues left in the rags in a safe manner. In addition, color ink sets have been replaced with a more biodegradable set of inks made from natural vegetable sources. Over the years Print and Mail has turned almost exclusively to the use of alkaline papers, which are more easily recycled.They also recycle all paper trimmings and grindings, so any and all excess paper is recycled. Employees recycle the aluminum printing plates that are used on the presses, a process that uses less energy than refining the aluminum.

Materials and Products

BYU uses modular carpeting on campus that wastes 12% less carpet than the typical “roll”. This carpet is less toxic than alternative options, and maximizes reuse and recycling of process waste in order to reduce its landfill impact. Additionally, this product can be recycled at the end of its useful life. It can also be more effectively reused in the event damage occurs as single tiles can easily be replaced. Early in the design process, the design team identifies opportunities to incorporate salvaged materials into new facilities. The cleaning products used on campus are “Clean” by Peroxy, and Bio-Renewable Glass Cleaner. We use microfiber rags, dusters, and window washing equipment, as well as Hepa, certified vacuums. Touchless soap and paper towel dispensers are installed in the Marriott Center and Lavell Edwards Stadium.