Operations and Initiatives

Waste Minimizaton and Diversion


In 2016, 43.9% of materials were diverted from landfills through recycling, composting, donating or reselling efforts.  This is accomplished through the Surplus Property Program, the end of the year Don’t Throw It, Donate It move out program, repurposing items to campus, and donations to nonprofit organizations. 

UWRF utilizes a Hazardous Waste Program that lists specific protocols for disposal of waste depending on the university department.  UWRF complies with the new Globally Harmonized System of Classification of Chemicals and has completed a 100% inventory of on-campus chemicals.  Recycled and refurbished electronics are sold through the monthly Surplus Sale. 

The Surplus Property Program at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls is designed to remove items from campus buildings that are no longer used or needed in an environmentally and fiscally responsible manner. The goals of the Surplus Property Program are to promote item reuse and to divert items from going into a landfill. 

Surplus Property Process:

  1. Items in good condition that are collected are often issued back to a different campus department in an effort to reduce campus expenses of having to buy something new. For more information on how to send an item to surplus or how to get an item from surplus for an on campus department, please visit the Departmental Process page. 
  2. Items that are not issued back to campus are then sold through online auctions or a surplus sale held on campus. For more information on current or upcoming sales and auctions, please visit the Sales and Auctions page.
  3. Items that are not sold are donated to non-profit organizations.

UWRF has an active recycling program.

Recycled items include:

  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Aluminum
  • Steel
  • Glass
  • Plastic
  • Lead-acid batteries
  • Tires
  • Oil and oil filters
  • Used Computer Components
  • Ink jet cartridges
  • Light bulbs and fluorescent tubes
  • Yard clippings are brough to the Community Compost
  • Wood materials are brought to the City of River Falls for chipping

National Recyclemania Competition Participation: Previous Results

Battery Recycling

All types of batteries are recyclable on campus following the instructions. Batteries cannot go in the normal recycling containers on campus. This is a specialty program that UWRF is participating in.

Lead-Acid Batteries

  • Please turn in all lead-acid batteries to a member of the custodial staff or email to coordinate a pickup

Dry Cell Batteries

  • Dry cell batteries include alkaline, nickel, nickel-cadmium, lithium, lithium-ion, zinc air, ets. Certain drycell batteries require that their terminals be covered with a piece of tape before being added to the collection conatainers. Please review Instructions for Recycled Battery Taping before recycling your batteries
  • There is a publicly accessible battery colection tube in the UniversityCenter Involvement Center just around the corner from the Information Desk. There is also a little bucket in each mailroom in the academic buildings for faculty and staff

Please contact with any questions regarding the battery collection and recycling process.

View our resources here.

Plastic Film Recycling

UWRF has a program for recyling plastic film and bags. Please note that this material cannot go in the normal recycling bins located on campus. There are four drop off locations where this material can be placed:

  • University Center
  • Room 32 North Hall
  • CSH 1st Floor Hallway
  • Ag Science 1st Floor Hallway near room 99

Acepted material includes grocery bags, bread bags, bubble wrap, case overwrap, cereal bags, Ziploc bags, dry cleaning bags, newspaper sleeves, ice bags, plastic shipping envelopes, produce bags, wood pellet bags, and salt bags. All material must be clean and dry.

Recycling and Waste Minimization Reports

Lab farm manure and animal bedding composting began at UWRF in the 1990s. Lessening the environmental impacts from these wastes and maintaining the comfort of lab farm animals is of utmost important while we balance the economic challenges of continuing these operations.

Composted Bedding and Manure Handling System at Lab Farm 2