Northern Illinois University Recycling


Recycling at NIU is a critical component of campus sustainability.  The Green Team works closely with Campus Recycling and other departments on campus to educate students, faculty, and staff on how to reduce resource consumption, properly recycle, and maintain a comprehensive, integrated program. Recycling at NIU not only reduces our carbon footprint, but it also saves the University money, reduces toxic waste in the landfill, and helps to conserves valuable resources.

Recycling Directory provided by the DeKalb County Health Department

NIU Recycling Website

Northern Illinois University Recycling Overview

General Recycling

NIU recycling is single stream, which means no sorting necessary.  Items should be placed in designated recycling bins with clear plastic lining.  No food, liquid, or candy wrappers should be placed in with recycling.

The City of DeKalb also offers single stream recycling.  For more information, view the City of DeKalb Recycle Brochure.

Electronics Recycling (E-waste)

As of 2012, it is illegal to dump electronics in Illinois landfills.  Recycling these products helps conserve valuable resources and mitigates harmful chemicals from getting into our environment. DeKalb County has established a schedule for community members to properly recycle their unwanted electronics.

Click HERE to see the dates and locations for DeKalb County electronics recycling.

Northern Illinois University collects e-waste generated by University departments and recycles these products with a CMS certified recycler in accordance with state regulations.  

Battery Recycling

Batteries disposed in the landfill contain heavy metals that are hazardous to the environment and health, and could leach into our local water supply.  Many local stores such as Lowe's and Target offer battery dropoff locations for recycling.  When recycling batteries on campus, place batteries to be recycled in an envelope and address to "Campus Mail/Recycle."  There are also several small brown recycling containers labeled "batteries only" throughout campus.  Lithium-ion, Ni-MH, Ni-Cd, and alkaline (household) batteries are all accepted through this program.  Lead-acid batteries are collected through the electronics recycling program, but may also be recycled through your automotive mechanic. 

Light Bulb Recycling

Light bulbs may contain mercury and other dangerous chemicals which can be hazardous to our health and the environment when disposef of improperly.  Building Services and Campus Recycling work with Environmental Health and Safety to properly recycle light bulbs generated on campus. This program does not allow light bulbs brought in from home, however light bulbs from offices and students in the residence halls are accepted.  Local stores such as Target and Lowes may collect used light bulbs for recycling. 

Toner/Ink Cartridge Recycling

Printing ink and toner cartridges contain chemicals that are harmful for the environment and health.  Many ink manufacturers provide free mailing labels to return used products for recycle and reuse at no cost.  Please check the product's website if no such label is provided.  Local stores such as Target also offer ink cartridge recycling dropoff.  On the NIU campus, place used cartridges to be recycled in an envelope and address to "Campus Mail/Recycle."  Campus Recycling also collects toner and ink cartridges periodically with e-waste.  

Pens, Pencils, Markers & Misc. Office Supply Recycling

This program accepts all pens, pencils, markers, and other non-liquid office supplies such as white out.  The items are recycled through Terracycle© and any money raised through this program goes to fund other Green Team projects such as battery recycling.  Items are recycled through Campus Mail similar to toner cartridges and batteries.  

Basic Dumpster Etiquette

  • Items must be inside the Waste Management dumpsters for pickup.
  • No overflow materials are permitted and no large furniture will be collected.
  • As of January 2012, it is against Illinois State Law to dispose of electronics in the landfill.
  • WM does not accept mattresses or white products such as refrigerators, washers, dryers, etc.

For further information about Campus Recycling, see or e-mail