Frequently Asked Questions

We are a new office, working in an emerging and increasingly broad field. Below are some of the most common questions we receive…


What is Sustainability? 

  • In the context of its multiple missions, a sustainable university meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs and creates opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to enhance the quality of life throughout their communities, both physical and scholarly.
  • A sustainable university acts as a living laboratory where sustainability is researched, taught, tested, and constantly refined. Sustainability is a process, not an end goal. It is a framework for organizing and acting which focuses on the whole, values interaction as much as component parts, and crosses traditional divides to address issues collectively.
  • Mistakes of the past can be remediated, present systems can be evaluated and improved, and future needs addressed in five aspects of university life: teaching, research, public service and outreach, student activities, and internal campus operations.

What is the Green Fee used for? 

  • The $3 student green fee, a student-led initiative which was passed in 2009 with overwhelming student support, is used to help fund the Office of Sustainability, student internships in the Office, a campus sustainability grants program, and new initiatives on campus. The green fee covers nearly 2/3 of the overall Office of Sustainability budget. The remainder of the budget is supported by the UGA Facilities Management Division and the Odum School of Ecology.

Who pays the Green Fee? 

  • All students who register for UGA courses and pay tuition to UGA pay the $3 green fee. This includes students on UGA’s main and extended campuses as well as students enrolled in UGA study abroad programs.

How can I apply to intern in the Office of Sustainability? 

What is the Sustainability Grants Program & how do I apply?

  •  The Campus Sustainability Grants program provides competitive funding for student-proposed projects and initiatives designed to advance sustainability through education, research, service, and campus operations.  Proposals are accepted each Fall and awarded projects are implemented in the Spring.  For program details, please visit the Campus Sustainability Grants page on our website.

Waste & Recycling

How do I get a recycling bin?  There are various sizes of bins available. It is important to indicate what material you want to recycle and how much.

The Facilities Management Division Support Services Department is responsible for campus wide solid waste removal, recycling, and general labor support.  If you are in need of any of the following recycling containers please contact Support Services at 706.542.7584 or email

  • Desk-side Bin Containers are perfect for office paper or temporary storage of other recyclables generated at your desk. These containers are made of cardboard and provided at no cost to a department. (Note: office occupants empty these desk side bins into common area recycling bins.)
  • Waste Reduction StationContainers are placed in the interior of a building at each point of disposal. “Stations” include 1-Landfill bin and 1 or 2 single-stream/comingled recycling bins that accept paper, plastic, metal and glass. Residential Halls have recycling stations on each floor.
  • Large Roll Carts are used for recycling office paper only. They can be found in common areas and mail rooms where high volumes of paper are generated for recycling (places like copy rooms and mail rooms).

What is single stream recycling and what items can go into the bins on campus?

  • For a comprehensive list of materials that can accepted in the campus recycling program please visit our waste and recycling page.
  • A poster is available here for download: UGA Recyclable Items.
  • In short, UGA is converting to single-stream recycling which means that paper, plastic, metal and glass can all be deposited into one recycling bin. DO NOT include trash with recyclables. (Note: the recycling program accepts all plastic food trays, cups, bottles, jugs, wide-mouth plastic containers #1 – #7 EXCEPT Styrofoam [#6 plastic]. Also accepted are “rigid plastics” such as toys, buckets, bins, etc.)

Where on campus can I drop off recycling?
Check out our list of campus locations!

Where in Athens-Clarke County (off campus) can I drop off recycling?

  • Visit the ACC Recycling Division’s Website for up-to-date recycling locations and information, including details on where to take hard to recycle items such as plastic bags or bicycle tubes.

Can pizza boxes be recycled?

  • YES! Pizza boxes can be accepted but only if they are relatively free of food and grease. (Note: if the bottom of the box is covered in food or grease, you can typically still tear off the “top” and recycle it.)

Our lab receives shipments in large plastic boxes that the vendor will not accept for return, can they be recycled?

  • Rigid plastics can now be accepted in the campus recycling program. It is important not to fill small recycling containers with large and bulky materials. Please contact Support Services at 706.542.7584 or email to arrange for pickup of large quantities.
  • If your building receives large amounts of packaging shipments and you would like to set up a program for recycling this material, please contact Andrew Lentini in the Office of Sustainability at

Can shredded paper be recycled?

  • Yes but it must be bagged. DO NOT PLACE LOOSE SHREDDED PAPER IN RECYCLING CONTAINER. Shredded paper will only be taken for recycling if it is easy to identify in a clear bag. Bags can be placed in or next to paper recycling roll carts that are found in common areas and mail rooms. If you are unsure where to leave the bag of shredded paper for recycling pickup please, contact your building services supervisor.
  • The UGA Records Center provides a shredding service of confidential material to UGA departments, free of charge. For more information or to request service please email

How do I recycle books on campus?

  • Paperback books and phone books can be recycled in any campus recycling bins. Hardback books can be recycled at ACC Recycling Division drop-off sites. The site most convenient to campus is 1059 Baxter Street (George Gibson’s Menswear Parking Lot). The Office of Sustainability is currently exploring options for campus book recycling sites on campus.

How do I recycle batteries and light bulbs on campus?

  • Rechargeable and alkaline (single-use) batteries and Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) are recyclable in every building on campus. (Note: older-style incandescent light bulbs cannot be recycled and should be secured in a crush proof container, then placed in the trash.) Every building service supervisor has a special container in the building for recyclable items that are used on campus.  Non-Resident instruction personnel are welcome to bring recyclable materials to an RI building.  To request the name of the supervisor in your building please email Please do not bring bulbs from your residence for disposal on campus.  For information on recycling bulbs from your home, contact the Athens-Clarke County Recycling Division.

How do I recycle printing cartridges on campus?

  • Both laserjet and inkjet cartridges from home or office can be recycled on campus. Please send them via campus mail to Central Office Supply. Please contact Support Services at 542-7584 or email to arrange for pickup of large quantities.

How do I dispose of old paint on campus?

  • Disposal options are available for materials that are generated on campus only. Departments can submit a work order (including the type and volume of paint to be disposed) on the Facilities Management Division Work Request System (Note: there is no charge for RI Buildings)

How do I recycle an old TV or other electronics?

  • UGA partners with ACC Recycling Division to host two Recycling Happy Hour events each year (fall and spring). Cell phones, computers, TVs etc. are all accepted.
  • If you prefer not to wait for a collection event please recycle your electronics at an ACC Recycling Division drop-off location or Best Buy Store. (Note: there may be a charge for some items including $10 for TVs.)  Working items can also be donated to Free IT Athens.
  • If the electronics are the property of the State or UGA they must be brought to UGA Surplus located in the Chicopee Complex. UGA Surplus Properties is where old things become new again. All furniture, cabinets, computers, lab tables, classroom desks etc. are made available for reuse by other departments on campus and eventually sold to outside vendors.

My student organization is hosting an event, how do we recycle our materials?

  • On Campus: Recycling and waste containers are available to those who host events on campus. Because there is a delivery cost associated with this request it must be made by a department with an account that can be charged for services provided. Please make requests to For small gatherings you may check out bins from The Office of Sustainability and set up bins on your own please contact our office for assistance with recycling.
  • Off Campus: Athens-Clarke County Recycling Division has folding recycling bins and bags available for festivals and events. Please contact their office at least one month in advance so they can plan for equipment and/or staffing. To reserve bins and/or to view special events recycling guidelines please visit the ACC Recycling Division webpage.

Is there a place to compost on campus?

  • If you are collecting a minimal amount of ONLY food scraps, the materials can be taken (with permission) to UGArden campus community garden on S. Milledge Avenue. For details or to set up a compost program in your department contact The Office of Sustainability by emailing
  • We do not recommend the use of compostable wares (plates, cups, utensils) for events on campus. Compostable items are difficult to compost without a large scale composting operation (i.e. not your backyard). We recommend the use of reusable cups, plates and utensils or recyclable items that are accepted in the campus recycling program. Please avoid Styrofoam and # 6 plastics. We understand that it is difficult to purchases reusable items for events and will soon have a “waste-free” kit available for loan in our office. Contact for more information.
  • During the summer of 2010, a small pilot food waste composting project was implemented in the Joe Frank Harris Commons Dining Hall in partnership with the Office of Sustainability, UGA Food Services, and Facilities Management Division. The pre-consumer kitchen scraps are brought to the Bioconversion Center and turned into nutrient-rich compost that is incorporated into campus landscapes and community garden. In the single dining hall pilot program, approximately four 64 gallon roll carts of material are captured (5) days per week.  This represents an approximate weight of 300 lbs. per day, and about 75,000 lbs. of food scraps annually for one dining hall.  When this program is extended to all campus dining halls, we expect to capture up to 300,000 lbs. per year of food scraps. It is something we are working to expand to all dining halls on campus in the future.

Are the UGA dining halls sustainable?

  • UGA Food Services take sustainability very seriously and make every effort to save energy and water while reducing waste that is generated from dining facilities. They even donate unused food items to the local community. You can learn more at the UGA Food Services website.

How can a campus department become a “green” office?

  • The Office of Sustainability has designed a voluntary program to help departments become more sustainable in their water and energy use, waste management, purchasing practices and transportation choices. See the link for Sustainable UGA Office Program Toolkit which describes ways to implement resource conservation strategies in the office.