Ever had a hard time figuring out how to recycle something or thrown something away you assumed could not be recycled? Paper, plastic, cardboard, glass, and aluminum are pretty easy to figure out on campus since there are labeled bins for them everywhere you go, but things like batteries, electronics, clothes, and scrap metal can be more difficult. We’re here to let you know how to safely and environmentally dispose of these items on campus.
Why recycle? Batteries contain heavy metals and toxic and corrosive chemicals. These materials can leach into the water supply, where they are difficult and costly to clean up. Battery materials are also expensive, and recycling helps to keep costs down as recovery is more economical than mining. Luckily, UT recycles almost all batteries. Only lead-acid batteries, which have leads that can short out and cause an explosion, require special consideration. If you have a lead-acid battery please contact UT Recycling by phone or email. Otherwise, simply use this guide. (source)
Where? Most campus buildings have a battery bucket somewhere inside. Ask at the front desk of any residence hall to locate the nearest one. If you live off-campus, you can recycle batteries at our off-campus drop off location at Dock 25 of the Fleming Warehouse at 2121 Stephensen Drive.
Why recycle? “Electronics contain valuable metals and components that can be used again in another manufacturing process. Cadmium, hexavalent chromium, mercury, chromium, barium, beryllium and brominated flame-retardant materials are components that can pollute water and air resources without proper disposal or recycling.” (source)
Where? Electronic Waste Containers are located in the Apartment Residence Hall, Volunteer Hall, Laurel Apartments, the Computer Store, and the North Commons in Hodges Library. If you live off campus you can bring your e-waste to Dock 25 of the Fleming Warehouse at 2121 Stephensen Drive.
Why recycle? Recycling scrap metal means using less newly mined metal, equating to less mining and damage to the environment. Some metals, such as copper, aluminum, lead, nickel and zinc can be recycled infinite amount of times. You can recycle metal cans in regularly labeled containers, but larger sheets like metal siding and framing should be recycled separately. (source)
Where? You can bring all scrap metal to Steam Plant Hill or Dock 25 of the Fleming Warehouse at 2121 Stephensen Drive.
Why recycle? There are “mountains of discarded garments that end up in landfills every day. Clothing can take hundreds of years to decompose so this alarming situation gets bigger and uglier every day.” (source)
Where? Unfortunately, UTK does not yet recycle clothing. However, if you donate to goodwill just off campus on the strip, even those clothes which are too worn to be used will be recycled. You can also take any of these suggestions from elle.com:
1. H&M has a new policy allowing shoppers to donate bags of clothing (which don’t have to be in good condition or carry an H&M label) in exchange for a 15 percent discount on an item of their choice. Puma and The North Face stores also accept worn clothing, and other retailers such as Levi’s, Gap, and Patagonia offer recycling sale events—inquire at local locations to see what’s planned.
2. Planet Aid‘s yellow collection bins (popping up soon on a street corner near you) offer peace of mind with a convenience factor. The nonprofit sells collected textiles to vendors in developing countries and uses the profits to support sustainable agriculture programs in sub-Saharan Africa.
3. Earth911.com is a one-stop-shop for recycling resources. Save time with their search engine that lists recycling centers by item type and zip code.