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.

Visit the Environmental Health and Safety website for more information about hazardous waste, how to dispose of hazardous waste, and the hazardous waste disposal schedule.

The Queen's Policy Statement on Environmental Management outlines the University’s commitment to the protection of the environment through the implementation of an effective Environmental Management Program. An important aspect of this program is the proper handling, storage, and disposal of all hazardous waste generated on campus.When the use of hazardous chemicals is unavoidable, the University is careful in its procedure to minimize use and properly manage disposal of such materials. For more information about hazardous waste disposal procedures or to schedule a pick up of your hazardous waste material please visit the Environmental Health & Safety website.


All hazardous waste chemicals generated from research and maintenance activities are collected and sorted. Where possible, chemicals are sent for treatment, neutralization or recycling. Researchers and their departments are encouraged to find less hazardous alternatives and to share chemicals and are discouraged from purchasing chemicals in bulk, thereby reducing the overall volume of hazardous waste chemicals generated by the University. Restricted use of pesticides (insecticides, herbicides) on campus for many years. "No poisoning" policy for dealing with nuisance animals.

Lead, Asbestos, PCBs, Mercury

Lead-free solders are used in routine maintenance procedures. No lead or asbestos are used in new construction and location of older asbestos are identified and containment secured. No new PCBs are used on campus. Programs are underway to identity existing PCBs and asbestos to remove and/or contain. The use of mercury is controlled by using low mercury content fluorescent lighting and special collection programs.


Batteries used in the maintenance and operation of the campus are collected for recycling. Hazardous components are removed from discarded research, maintenance and other equipment. The components are disposed of as hazardous waste while the remaining equipment is recycled as much as possible. 

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.

    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.