Recycling Programs

Landfill avoidance is an essential part of operating a sustainable campus. 

Multi-stream recycling stations are found across campus for the Queen’s community to properly dispose of garbage, recycling and organics. Custodial staff remove materials from collection stations and sort them into exterior containers for pick up by Waste Management. 

The success of the university's diversion initiatives relies on the cooperation and participation of students, faculty and staff. For more information about campus waste diversion practices and what you can do to reduce, reuse, and recycle on campus, please see the resources provided below.

 Queen's Recycling Overview

Waste Wizard

Find out what goes where, and recycle well at Queen's.

Composting has many environmental benefits including conserving landfill space, improving soil quality and keeps organic material out of landfill. When food waste sits in a landfill and is not properly turned and processed (like compost is) it releases methane, a greenhouse gas more potent than CO2.

Office Organics Program

Campus departments are invited to join the organics program which focuses on capturing food waste generated by staff who bring their lunches to work. To adequately control the content and quality of the organic collection, an organics collection container is provided for kitchen or lounge spaces. This container will be emptied into an exterior collector that is picked up weekly and transported to a composting facility. Check the Waste Wizard to verify what goes in organics. 

Join the Office Organics Program

Dining Room & Retail Food Outlets

The dining rooms and retail food outlets participate in an organics program. The organic material that comes from the dining rooms and retail food outlets is collected in exterior toters and the material is transported by the campus waste hauler to Tomlinson Organics in Joyceville. Tomlinson’s converts the organic material into compost that is used by commercial landscapers and home gardeners to enhance their soil.

Compostable items include: meat, dairy products, produce, coffee grounds, kitchen paper towels, napkins, uncoated paper take-out containers, cups and plates, and pizza boxes.

When a custodian removes a bag of paper, cans/glass/plastic recycling or organics, and it contains more than 10% of garbage then the whole bag of recycling must go to waste. The recycling facility will not accept contaminated recycling as these items are difficult to recycle and find buyers for.

Queen’s is not part of the municipal recycling system, the university is part of the ICI sector (industrial, commercial, institutional).

The municipality of Kingston and Queen’s University are guided by different legislation. The City has its own recycling facility (Kingston Area Recycling Centre) while the University uses a contracted waste hauler to remove waste and recycling from the campus. 

However, the two systems are very similar and we work to make the differences clear to the Queen’s and Kingston community.

Organic material collected from Queen’s composting program is sent to Tomlinson Organics in Joyceville, Ontario where it is broken down by their composting process and then sold as compost for gardens and farms. Recycling materials from Queen’s are collected and sent to Brockville Waste Management Transfer Station.

How much waste does Queen's generate annually?

  • 2500 MT of waste
  • 1200 MT of recycling

Queen's Recycling Facts

  • 1336 tonnes of recyclables are diverted from landfill annually, representing a 45% diversion rate
  • More than 85% of our current waste stream can be diverted

  Queen's University Waste Audit Report 2016 (PDF, 4.2 MB)

Coffee cups have a wax or plastic coating on them so that they can hold hot liquid. This coating prevents the cups being broken down into pulp for paper recycling. In addition, to-go coffee cups are often used as as mini garbage cans and contain all kinds of items (banana peel, wrappers, napkins), and this results in contamination of the recycling stream. To properly dispose of a coffee cup at Queen's, place it in the waste container.

Plastic grocery bags are no longer acceptable in recycling streams, because they are very difficult to recycle into new materials. Plastic bags require a specific recycling process and there is little market demand for this item. 

Say no to plastic bags and one-time use cups, and choose reusable versions instead.

In an effort to reduce disposable mask litter on our campus and to eliminate this waste from landfill, Terracycle collection boxes have been deployed to the buildings listed below.  You can eliminate mask waste from going to landfills by using these collection boxes. If you can’t find one, please contact Facilities.  If you notice a box is full, please contact Fixit.



Athletics & Recreation

Changerooms and exits


Outside the Tea Room


Arch Street Entrance (main entrance)

Botterall Hall

Main Entrance


Main Entrance

Chernoff Hall

Bader Lane Entrance

Douglas Library

Main Entrance

Duncan McArthur Hall

Student Street Entrance

Dunning Hall

University Ave entrance

Dupuis Hall

Front Entrance

Ellis Hall

Main Floor / Foyer

Etherington Hall

Stuart Street entrance

Faculty of Law

Main entrance

Fleming Jemmet Wing

Campus Security

Fleming Stuart Pollack

Human Resources

Goodwin Hall

Main Floor / Foyer

Gordon Hall

Main Floor / Foyer

Haynes Hall

Main entrance

Humphrey Hall

South Entrance, between Humphrey & Craine


Ground Floor by Tim Hortons

Jeffery Hall

Ground Floor / Foyer

Kingston Hall

North entrance

Louise D. Acton

Main entrance

McIntosh-Corry Hall

East Entrance facing Ellis

McLaughlin Hall

Main Floor / Foyer

Miller Bruce

West Facing Entrance / Main Foyer near Elevators

Mitchell Hall

Union Street Entrance

Nicol Hall

Main Entrance / Foyer

Ontario Hall

Main Floor / Foyer

Queen's Centre

Earl Street Entrance

Richardson Hall

Main Entrance

Richardson Labs

Main Entrance

Rideau Building

Ground Floor Hallway

Robert Sutherland Hall

Union Street Entrance

School of Kinesiology

Main Entrance

School of Medicine

Arch Street Entrance

Smith School of Business

Main Entrance

Stauffer Library

Main Foyer

Stirling Hall

East Entrance

Walter-Light Hall

Main Entrance

Watson Hall

Main floor / Foyer

Dining Halls and Retail Food Outlets   

Main Entrances

Residence Halls

Waste/Recycling Rooms


Secure handling practices for disposal of E-waste

Unused electronics should be submitted to the e-waste program when no longer required.

Disposal process

Step 1: The requesting office completes an E-Waste/Equipment Pickup Request. Ensuring that a complete list of items to be picked up is documented in the Description of Work field.

Step 2: The requesting office will receive a confirmation email complete with a submission number. (The submission number should always be used when referencing the request).

Step 3: The requesting office labels the devices to be picked up with the submission number, so moving services knows they are taking the correct items.

Step 4 The requesting office places the e-waste in a secure area to await pick up. Secure areas are those not easily accessed by anyone outside of your unit’s staff, preferably a locked room or cabinet. Under no circumstances leave e-waste in hallways, outside of buildings, or on loading docks even for a short period as this may expose the University to risk.

Step 5: Moving services will arrive to remove the e-waste.


  • Energy and Waste Management is responsible for establishing e-waste practices
  • Facilities and moving services are responsible for the collection, transportation, and storage of e-waste awaiting destruction
  • The electronics recycling company is responsible for the secure destruction of Queen’s e-waste
  • Departments and Faculties are responsible for the secure storage of e-waste awaiting collection by moving services, arranging the collection of e-waste, and reporting loss or stolen e-waste
  • Campus Security is responsible for investigating reports of loss or stolen e-waste
  • IT Services is responsible for providing users with guidance on secure handling of e-waste

Queen's Strategic Procurement Services has negotiated special rates on select products to make it easy and cost-effective to collect and send hard-to-recycle items for processing. The best rates are offered by Grand & Toy.

Coffee Capsules - Zero Waste BoxCoffee capsule recycling collection box

An estimated 20 billion coffee capsules will be consumed this year and most will end up in landfills?

Let’s do our part.

  1. Log into your Queen's acQuire account, go to the shopping page and search for TerraCycle
  2. Order the appropriate sized TerraCycle Coffee Capsules - Zero Waste Box (box sizes and prices below)
  3. Collect your coffee capsules
  4. Ship the filled box to TerraCycle using the prepaid label on the box
  5. Order a new box

Office Supplies - Zero Waste BoxRecycling collection boxes for office supplies

Recycle your office supplies in four easy steps: 

  1. Log into your Queen's acQuire account, go to the shopping page and search for TerraCycle
  2. Order the appropriate sized TerraCycle Office Supplies - Zero Waste Box (box sizes and prices below)
  3. Collect your discarded supplies
  4. Ship the filled box to TerraCycle using the prepaid label on the box
  5. Order a new box

Accepted waste includes discarded, non-electronic office tools such as tape, desk organizers, card and document filers, binders, calendars, labels, staplers, writing instruments, hole punchers, dividers, paper cutters, and correction supplies. You can also recycle fasteners including paper clips, staples, and binder clips, and backing from sticker and label sheets.

Please be advised that the campus printer cartridge and toner program has changed.

If you ONLY have printer/toner cartridges, please submit a Printer Cartridge Pickup Form on the Facilities website. 

If you are placing an e-waste pickup request, please include the printer cartridges on that form.

Please direct any questions about this change in process to our Waste, Recovery, and Resource Specialist.


Battery Recycling

Queen's has a battery recycling program through the Raw Materials Company. Collection containers are found in several buildings.

Building Location
Biosciences Complex West entrance by Tim Horton’s
Botterell Hall Foyer
Bruce Wing 2nd floor, outside elevator
Campus Bookstore Foyer 
Chernoff Hall Ground floor by computer kiosks
Duncan McArthur Hall Student Street by vending machines
Dupuis Hall West entrance
Ellis Hall Foyer under bulletin board
JDUC Ground floor by AMS office
Mackintosh-Corry Hall Student Street opposite cafeteria
School of Kinesiology Foyer
School of Medicine Ground floor by main stairwell
Stirling Hall West Entrance

Book Recycling

Queen's has a book recycling program through Textbooks for Change. Collection containers are found in several buildings.

Building Location
Beamish-Munro Outside Tea Room
Botterell Hall Main Foyer
Bruce Wing 2nd floor by elevator
Campus Bookstore Main Entrance
Chernoff Hall Ground floor
Duncan McArthur Hall 3rd floor
Ellis Hall Main Foyer
JDUC 2nd floor, Tricolour Bookstore
School of Kinesiology Foyer
School of Medicine 1st floor by main stairwell
Stirling Hall West Entrance

Questions? Collection full? Email us.