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Recycling Ambassadors
Look for Recycling Ambassadors at residence hall dumpster stations during student move-in

As you prepare to move into your on-campus residence hall or apartment, keep in mind the University’s Three Zeros Environmental Initiative goal of a zero-waste campus. Students are challenged to limit the amount of waste they bring to campus, and to recycle (and compost) waste that leaves the campus.

We encourage students to consider packing their clothes, bedding and dorm supplies in reusable crates and storage containers to avoid waste (and to use for move-out!) and to remove appliances and fans from boxes prior to your arrival on campus. If you must bring cardboard and other packaging onto campus, please recycle and keep these materials out of landfills.

Move-in recycling tips

University “Recycling Ambassadors” (wearing white “UNC Recycles” t-shirts) will be stationed at residence hall dumpster stations during student move-in. They will be happy to assist with breaking down boxes and packing materials and to help you properly sort and recycle cardboard, Styrofoam, plastic film and other recyclables:

  • Bring cardboard and other packing materials to your residence hall dumpster station.
  • Empty and flatten cardboard boxes. Please be sure all plastic wrap and other packing materials have been removed.
  • Deposit cardboard in the blue “cardboard” recycling dumpsters located next to each trash dumpster.
  • Sort plastic shrink wrap and Styrofoam into their respective recycling areas at each site.
  • Place any regular trash in the trash dumpster; trash dumpsters are usually green or gray in color.
  • Look for UNC Recycling Ambassadors who are here to help you!

Diverting recyclables from landfills

Move-In by the Numbers
Move-in 2018 By The Numbers

Before the program began in the fall of 2001, trash dumpsters across campus would often become buried under huge piles of discarded boxes over the course of move-in weekend. The cardboard would then head to the landfill, where corrugated cardboard is banned, resulting in significant tip fines for the University.

Through education, engagement and sorting, the Recycling Ambassador team diverted 20 tons of cardboard from landfills during last fall’s initiative. The program has expanded over the years to include plastic wrap recycling in 2009 and Styrofoam collection in 2013. Since the start of the program in 2001, more than 345 tons of cardboard, polystyrene and plastic film have been recycled and kept out of landfills.

For more information about the move-in recycling program, contact the Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling at 919-962-1442 or

Launched in fall 2016, the University’s Three Zeros Environmental Initiative challenges the Carolina community to reduce its environmental impact through three sustainability goals: net zero water usage, zero waste to landfills, and net zero greenhouse gas emissions.
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