Recycling, Composting, & Waste

The college runs its own recycling center and compost operation. Sixty-five percent of our waste was diverted from landfills in 2013 via composting, recycling, and reuse.

Recycling Resources


On a national average, food waste comprises upwards of 7% of the municipal solid waste stream. But not at Middlebury College. A collaborative effort between Dining Services and Facilities Management turns nearly 300 tons of food waste into rich piles of compost for use in greenhouses and gardens, and as soil amendment on campus. Food prep scraps, postconsumer food residuals, waxed cardboard, paper towels, napkins and food prep waste paper—some 70% of the College's food waste—is composted. Plate waste (post consumer food residuals) is run through a pulper to remove excess water.

Even when Dining Services moves outdoors for picnics or large College celebrations, the compost program maintains momentum. Approximately 90% of the waste generated by these large outdoor events goes directly into the College's composting system instead of the landfill. Paper plates, napkins, paper cups and biodegradable trash bag liners are all compostable. Depending on the event, Dining Services determines the feasibility of using silverware instead of plastic whenever possible. In the past the College used biodegradable utensils made from cornstarch; however, the product line was discontinued.

FAQs: Recycling & Composting

Mixed Paper

This includes almost any paper product.

Recycle It: paper- white, colored, shredded; all envelopes- even with plastic; magazines; post-it notes; newspaper; all books- even hardbacks; boxboard.

Trash It: wax paper cups, potato chip bags, plastic coated paper, carbon paper.

Mixed Containers

This includes glass, plastic, and tin.

Recycle It: Plastic # 1-7, plastic grocery bags, all cans- redeemable and nonredeemable; glass; metal lids

Trash It: plastic lids, other types of film plastic



Can be broken down and stacked next to the recycling bins for collection.


Do not put in regular trash or recycling! There are collection boxes in each Commons office and in the Franklin Environmental Center at Hillcrest, room 109.


Most buildings on campus have collection bins for batteries next to the Recycling Station on the main floor.  Please email beckwith@middlebury.edu if you need help finding a battery collection site.


Any other materials can either picked up upon request by the Waste Management staff or can delivered to the Recycling Center for processing.