How Do I Recycle Lab Plastics?
Lab plastics include non-hazardous:
- Pipette tip boxes
- Plastic bottles
Please remove lids from bottles. Containers that might be harmful should be triple rinsed and marked with an “X” on the container.
Recycling Update: Lab Plastics can now be included in the regular bottle and can bins. Please call 919-962-1442 with any questions.
Lab Recycling History
The Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling began to recycle lab plastics beginning in August 2009 with a team of six students completing a Capstone requirement for the Institute for the Environment. The pilot project was designed to meet the recycling needs of UNC’s laboratory system and was implemented in three buildings, Burnett-Womack, Lineberger, and MBRB, on a trial basis. One bin was placed on each floor containing labs. Collections of non-hazardous pipette tip boxes, rigid plastic bottles, cases, flasks, and containers began in November. A local recycling company, Shimar, in Durham was contracted to make weekly pickups and distributed the collections to local markets. The pilot program was very successful and prevented 975 gallons of recyclable plastic from entering landfills.
In January 2010, two capstone students, Allison Davis and Meghan Corbet, continued on this project as interns with the goal to expand the existing program to more buildings that showed need for recycling. An additional seven buildings were selected and the recycling needs for the pilot buildings were re-evaluated. The new buildings included are: Beard, Brinkhous-Bullitt, Genetic Medicine, Kerr, Mary Ellen Jones, Taylor, and Thurston-Bowles. The same procedure from the pilot program for bin placement was applied with one bin on each floor containing labs. In April 2010, the expanded program began collections and the program has been enthusiastically received by participants.