A new search tool is available to help people properly dispose of waste on the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus.

The “Where to Throw” search tool on the Office of Campus Sustainability’s website indicates whether a material should be reused, recycled, composted or disposed of. The instructions apply to Ann Arbor campus units except Michigan Medicine.

By typing the name of a waste item, users can learn how to recycle or dispose of materials ranging from coffee cups to glass to electronics. The tool is mobile-friendly and offers language translations.

By enabling students, faculty, staff and visitors to dispose of waste properly, the search tool supports U-M’s sustainability goal to reduce waste sent to landfills by 40 percent by 2025.

A new Where to Throw search tool builds on standardized waste bins and signs to help campus users sort waste properly. (Photo courtesy of the Office of Campus Sustainability)
A new Where to Throw search tool builds on standardized waste bins and signs to help campus users sort waste properly. (Photo courtesy of the Office of Campus Sustainability)

Keeping contamination out of recycling and composting bins is important because items that do not belong reduce the quality of the resulting recycled material or compost soil. Too much contamination can even cause a batch of otherwise recyclable or compostable materials to be diverted to the landfill.

“The Where to Throw tool is an easy, quick way for campus community members to make sure they are properly disposing of their waste,” said Alison Richardson, OCS recycling coordinator. “We make sure the tool is up-to-date with the latest information, so you can be sure you’ll find accurate disposal instructions for each item.”

The Where to Throw database is extensive, containing more than 275 items. However, if a user discovers an item that is not in the database, the tool allows them to suggest a new item. Suggestions and other data will provide OCS with more robust insights to inform waste reduction programs, education and outreach.

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