Student’s Guide to Recycling in Tompkins County

Now that the Fall semester has begun, the Tompkins County Department of Recycling and Materials Management would like to take a moment to help students recycle right in Ithaca and Tompkins County. There are specific guidelines for what is and is not recyclable, and plenty of resources to help. Making sure you recycle correctly every time improves the recycling process and ensures that your bin won’t be rejected at the curb.

 Curbside recycling in Tompkins County is single-stream, meaning that all of the accepted materials can go in the same bin. Cardboard and mixed paper, paper cartons and drink boxes, plastics, glass containers, and metal cans and foil can be mixed together in the same bin. These materials are sorted and separated as part of the recycling process. Unacceptable items like plastic bags, Styrofoam, electronics, and other trash create problems for the sorting process.

The Curbside Recycling Guidelines for Tompkins County brochure is a great resource for making sure you recycle right every time. The brochures are available at grocery store service desks, municipal offices, and the Recycling and Materials Management office and Recycling and Solid Waste Center. The guidelines can also be viewed online.

The homepage of provides two additional tools that are useful for residents. The Find My Recycling Day tool is great for students living off campus who want to know their recycling schedule and sign up for automatic recycling day reminders via email, text, and phone call. Unsure about a specific item? The What Do I Do With…? search engine allows users to search for directions on how to recycle or dispose of thousands of items.

Need more help with recycling and waste reduction on campus? Cornell University and Ithaca College have on-campus programs for recycling and waste reduction. The Cornell R5 program and Ithaca College Eco-Reps are a great place to start.



Tompkins Recycling & Materials Management

(607) 273-6632