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Recycling @ Upstate

On October 6, 2010, Upstate's campus-wide recycling program, Recycling Starts with You, kicked off, building on many recycling successes already in place. Our goal is to recycle 2/3 of the estimated 2,000 tons of paper, plastic, glass, food, packaging and other "stuff" we add to the waste stream each year.

Recycling Summary

Each year Upstate submits a recycling and waste report to the state including what and how much was recycled during the year, along with any new recycling initiatives adopted.

The most recent reports are included below:

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Downtown Campus

In the most recent Downtown Campus recycling summary for 2014-2015, the totals were:

  • 1,805 tons of waste disposed
  • 928 tons of waste recycled
  • 34% recycled

Community Campus

In the most recent Community Campus report for 2014-2015, the totals were:

  • 687 tons of waste disposed
  • 284
  • 41% recycled

While these numbers are impressive, the individual efforts that went into achieving these goals are numerous. A few of the efforts taking place at Upstate include:


  • Used computers, monitors, & electronic equipment
  • Plastic, glass, aluminum, & paper
  • Construction & demolition debris
  • Tires
  • Batteries
  • Motor oil
  • Organic materials, such as leaves, wood chips, & grass clippings


  • Recyclable Sharps programs
  • Double sided printing & copying
  • Use of neutral cleaners & chemical dilution systems
  • Separation of medical waste from solid waste
  • A mop system that reduces fresh water use by 400 gallons/day
  • Use of wash rags and squeegees for cleaning instead of paper towels


  • Recycled floor mats
  • Floor care machines that use less water & chemicals
  • Seeking out contracts for cheaper materials and services, such as purchasing bathroom products from the NY State Deaf/Blind program

Planning & Research

  • Creating campus wide sustainability groups & recycling awareness campaigns
  • Reviewing new products to recycle, such as disposable curtains & sterile wrap
  • Developing a mercury reduction program that seeks to replace mercury thermometers & pressure cuffs with less hazardous, digital & alcohol thermometers
  • Reviewing light systems & fluorescent bulb recycling programs
  • Investigating a collaborative recycling partnership with the Upstate Foundation & Wal-Mart to collect used cell phones and printer cartridges, with proceeds that benefit Upstate