Frequently Asked Questions: Recycling

Is recycling required at Winthrop University?

Yes, per the South Carolina Solid Waste Policy and Management Act, Section 44-96-140, Winthrop is required to establish a  recycling program in cooperation with the department and for the collection of selected recyclable materials generated in state offices including, but not limited to, high-grade office paper, corrugated paper, aluminum, glass, tires, composting materials, plastics, batteries, and used oil.

How much does Winthrop University recycle annually?

Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) is the waste generated at a residence, office building, retail, or university; this includes waste sent to the landfill and any material recovered for recycling or diverted.  Recycling is the act of converting 'waste' into a resource to be used to make another item.  Diversion is a practice of keeping usable items from being sent to the landfill or incinerator.  At Winthrop, on average, we collect more than 2,000 tons of MSW each year and our average recycling rate is 8.75% or 175 tons per year.  The annual diversion rate has been declining over the past 12 years and averages around 0.43% or 8.72 tons per year.   In FY2022/23 (July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023), Winthrop diverted and recycled 195 tons of material for a 10.36% total diversion rate or 0.20 lbs. per person per day or 71 lbs. per year.   This is a 45.74-ton or 23.46% increase from FY2021/22 when we diverted 149.87 tons of MSW.  Despite the increase, there are still opportunities for improvement.  Winthrop generated 1,686 tons of MSW in FY2022/23.   This equates to 689.03 lbs. per person per year or 1.89 lbs. per day, an increase from FY2021/22.  According to the EPA, on average, individuals generate 4 lbs. per day. 

How are the residence halls doing their part to support recycling?

Recycling bins are located in every student room and in the lobby or designated trash areas in the residence halls. Winthrop participates in Campus Race to Zero Waste, a national recycling competition and Resident Assistants host programming on various recycling and sustainable issues. Contact us at for more information about hosting a program.

How can I reduce the amount of paper I use on campus?

First, consider eliminating the use of personal printers. If this is not an option, think before you print. Do not print e-mail unless necessary and  print on both sides of paper (pdf - 152 KB). Communicate through e-mail instead of paper memos, use the web page for class administration purposes and allow assignments to be submitted electronically where possible. Many forms on campus are now submitted digitally.

How do I stop junk mail?

One available source available is DMAchoice, an online tool developed by the Direct Marketing Association to help you manage your mail. The DMAchoice Web site will get you started reducing junk mail you receive in you mailbox.

Another source available is TrustediD, a mail preference service. Visit the TrustediD Web site to get started.

What are the six "R's" of recycling?

  • Reduce the number of items purchased - especially if the items are quick impulse purchases.
  • Refuse to use or purchase items that are not useful both in the short-term and long-term.
  • Repair items if they are torn or broken.
  • Re-think how choices are made and question what the impacts are to social welfare, ecological integrity, and economic vitality during the product's life cycle.
  • Reuse items that can be sold again or used in some other way without changing the form of the item.
  • Recycle only after other options are not viable.

What can I recycle on campus?

Visit the Winthrop Recycling page for more current recycling information. Below are some general notes about recycling:

  • Place all recyclables in proper containers as indicated by labels on or above the bin. 
  • The only plastic items collected on campus for recycling are plastic bottles, plastic jugs, and plastic jars. 
  • It is okay to recycle sticky notes as well as paper with paper clips and staples.
  • Corrugated cardboard must be flattened and placed in dumpster marked for cardboard. 
  • Small cardboard boxes may be placed with mixed paper but they must be flattened.
  • Printer cartridges, batteries, light bulbs, and office electronics are collected separately.
  • Special recycling collection efforts are also done during move-in and move-out from the residence halls.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact us at

Why is recycling important?

Recycling offers many benefits for evolving towards advancing economic vitality, ecological integrity and social welfare. Here are some examples:

  • Creates jobs - recycling is a multi-billion dollar industry employing millions of people.
  • Preserves wildlife & habitat
    • Plastic bag takes 10 to 20 years to decompose.
    • Aluminum Cans take 80-200 years to decompose.
    • Plastic bottles take upd to 450 years to decompose. 
    • Glass bottles takes approximately 1 million years to decompose.
    • Plastic breaks down into micro plastics causing harm to aquatic life.
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) as well as air and water pollution linked to decomposing waste
  • Saves energy and conserves natural resources - less energy is required to process recycled waste than to use virgin natural resources. 
    • About 125 recycled aluminum cans save enough energy required to supply power to one home for one day. 
    • A recycled glass bottle can save enough energy to run a computer for 25 minutes. 
    • Recycling aluminum preserves enough energy required to run a 100-watt bulb for 20 hours, a computer for 3 hours, or a TV for 2 hours.
    • Each ton of recycled mixed paper can conserve energy equivalent to around 185 gallons of gasoline.
  • It is estimated that every person creates around 4.7 pounds of waste every day.  Recycling waste is less expensive when compared to creating and operating new landfills.  The annual national recycling rate of 34.7% saves nearly 229 million barrels of oil and avoids emissions equivalent to removing more than 34 million cars from the road each year. 

What can I do to reduce my waste?

  • Reduce copying and copy all documents front and back.
  • Create personal shared online folders (OneDrive) instead of printing and filing all correspondences.
  • Notify vendors who send each of us the same catalog to send only on publication to one designated staff member.
  • Purchase office supplies with high recycled content when available and products that meet quality standards. Please refer to the Sustainable Procurement Policy.
  • Recycle all materials that can be recycled.
  • Reuse one-sided paper on personal printers.
  • Share magazine and journal subscriptions within department.
  • Use reusable water bottles or cups in place of disposable water bottles or cups.
  • Whenever possible, avoid using paper, plastic, plastic utensils, and styrene plates for office celebrations.
  • Whenever possible, use re-usable plates, utensils, and mugs for office celebrations.

What can I recycle at home if I live in Rock Hill or York County?

Recycling processes are different depending on where you live. Click here for information about recycling in Rock Hill and York County.