Recycling Guide

The Stewart Lee Udall Department of the Interior Building (MIB)


White Paper - Grade 1

  • White paper (any color ink)
  • White tissue paper (onion skin)
  • White copier paper
  • White computer paper
  • White office stationery (also, high-quality, off-white paper such as stationery)
  • White envelopes with water-soluble glue (i.e., seals when moistened), without windows, and without self-adhesive labels or postage stamps (please remove and discard these)

Mixed (colored) Paper - Grade 2

  • Colored or natural-shade paper
  • Magazines and glossy paper
  • Yellow routing and message slips
  • Blueprints and drawings
  • Unsolicited mail
  • Carbonless paper
  • Shredded paper (must be in bags)
  • Books (glued, stitched, or stapled) - examples include CFRs and Federal Registers
  • File stock - manila, green, or brown folders; wallet folders; hanging folders (please remove the metal hangers first)
  • Tabbed dividers (remove plastic materials)
  • Envelopes (any color except white) with water-soluble glue and envelopes with windows (please remove and discard self-adhesive labels and/or postage stamps)
  • Copy-paper wrappers (i.e., the wrappers that bind each ream of new paper)
  1. Staples may be left on paper being recycled, but paper clips, binder clips, and other reusable fasteners should be removed and reused.
  2. Documents that contain sensitive information (e.g., data protected under the Privacy Act of 1974) should be shredded before being recycled or discarded.
  3. Recycling containers for desktop separation of Grades 1 and 2 paper are available from the Building Manager's Office, room 1749, or by contacting one of the individuals listed at the end of this Recycling Guide.
  4. Centralized collection centers are located throughout the MIB. For information on the one nearest to your office, please contact one of the individuals listed at the end of this Recycling Guide.


Newspaper - Grade 3

Newspapers should be recycled by placing them in the specially-marked containers which are located in the MIB. In the Stewart Lee Udall Department of the Interior Building, collection points are located at the pedestrian entrances to parking garages, in the dining area of the cafeteria, at freight-elevator lobbies on each floor, and in each kitchenette. 


Cardboard - Grade 4

Cardboard may be placed in the hallway outside each office door after 4:00 p.m. each business day. A special collection for large quantities of cardboard can be arranged by calling the Building Manager's Office. Please remove any waste and/or packing materials from the cardboard being recycled.


Telephone Directories - Grade 5

Old or unneeded telephone books (e.g., Verizon, Bell Atlantic directories, The One Book, Yellow Book, agency telephone directories, etc.) should be recycled. Please place these in the immediate area of the paper containers at your recycling center.


Unacceptable Items

The items listed below should be separated or removed from paper materials being recycled.

  • Waxy paper
  • Tissues
  • Carbon paper
  • Adhesive tape
  • Rubber bands
  • Paper cups (unless obtained from the cafeteria)
  • Post-It® notes (although the paper is okay, the adhesive is not)
  • Food wrappers
  • Tyvek® envelopes
  • Padded envelopes
  • Pressure-sensitive (self-adhesive) labels and postage stamps
  • Three-ring or other types of binders (but, recycle the contents)
  • Plastic or metal spiral binders (remove the binding and recycle the contents)
  • Binder clips and other metal fasteners


Computer Equipment

Surplus and/or outdated computer equipment must be recycled. This includes items such as central processing units (CPUs) and monitors—be sure to remove the hard drive or ensure all data is properly removed from it. The OFAS Property Office has established a contract for recycling this type of equipment. For additional information, please contact John Butler, OFAS Property Officer.


Comingled Beverage Containers (Glass, Aluminum Cans, And Plastic)

Beverage containers (i.e., glass, aluminum cans, and plastic) are mixed together (comingled) into single collection containers which are conveniently located in our buildings. In the MIB, the collection containers are located in kitchenettes, freight-elevator lobbies, the cafeteria, and at pedestrian entrances to the parking garages. 

To make recycling beverage containers even more convenient for occupants, small collection containers were distributed to each office in the MIB. These office containers are emptied every Friday.

Please ensure that bottles and cans have been rinsed and are empty. Caps or tops may remain on containers. Only type PET, PETE (No. 1), or HDPE (No. 2) plastics may be recycled. PET is used to make tough, shatterproof containers such as soft-drink and water bottles, and some food and medicine containers. HDPE (high-density polyethylene) plastics are flexible, translucent products such as milk and detergent bottles. PET, PETE, and HDPE containers will be marked as such or may be marked No. 1 or No. 2. The following are contaminants and should not be placed into the collection centers:

  • Liquids
  • Stones and dirt
  • Plate, safety, or window glass
  • Heat-resistant glass such as Pyrex
  • Plastic bags or plastic wrap such as is used to preserve food
  • Lead-based glass such as crystal or TV tubes
  • Ceramic cups, dishes, oven ware, or light bulbs
  • Polystyrene
  • Yogurt cups
  • Milk cartons
  • Food wrappings


Composting Program

We have added a full-cycle composting program to our recycling program. Food wastes and other compostable materials now are being collected in our buildings. The materials that are collected undergo initial processing here (i.e., run through a pulping machine and dried in a special oven for ten to twelve hours) and are transported to a composting facility where the material is mixed with soil and other compostable materials such as grass clippings and leaves for a to six- to nine-month period. The final product, rich compost, is returned here for use in our organic garden and in the landscaping surrounding our buildings.
You will find specially-marked containers (marked Compostable Materials Only) located conveniently throughout our buildings. In the MIB, the containers are located in kitchenettes, freight-elevator lobbies, and the cafeteria. The containers are emptied by our custodial contractor every day. The following compostable materials and food wastes should be placed into the containers:

  • Food wastes
  • Fruit peels (e.g., apple, bananas, oranges, tangerines, etc.)
  • Forks, knives, spoons, cups, and straws from the cafeteria
  • Lids from the cafeteria (e.g., from coffee cups and soup/cereal bowls)
  • Clamshell food containers from the cafeteria (including the see-through type with the marking “PLA”)
  • Napkins from the cafeteria (or from any source that does not use bleach to whiten the napkins)
  • Paper bags from the cafeteria
  • Paper plates from the cafeteria
  • Coffee cups from the cafeteria

The emphasis on having some of the above items sourced from the cafeteria is because the cafeteria contractor purchases special, compostable items to support our efforts to ‘green' the building.


Skids and Pallets

In general, pallets and skids should be returned to their origin (e.g., Printing Plant, Loading dock (receiving section), GPO, etc.). They will be returned to their point of origin or recycled through a contract established by the Division of Facilities Management Services. For additional information, please contact Jay Agosto.


Cell Phones, Eye Glasses, Compact Discs, DVDs, Transparencies, and More

There are collection bins for miscellaneous items near the entrance to the Fitness Center in the main corridor of the basement in MIB. There you may recycle:

  • Cartridges for printers (laser and ink-jet), copy machines, and fax machines,
  • Computer (floppy) disks,
  • Ni-Cad rechargeable batteries (sorry; we cannot recycle alkaline batteries),
  • CDs,
  • DVDs,
  • Transparencies (used for overhead projectors),
  • Electronic devices (e.g., cell phones, two-way radios)
  • Magnetic tapes (4 mm, 8 mm, VHS cassettes, reel-to-reel, and data cartridges), and
  • Eyeglasses.


Scrap Metal And Fluorescent Light Tubes

Most scrap metal and fluorescent tube recycling is done by the facilities staff; however, there are successful recycling programs in place for occupants to recycle these items. Note: fluorescent tubes may contain trace amounts of hazardous materials and should not be discarded with other waste. Contact Ken Tunney for additional information.


Carpet and Padding

When replacing carpeting in offices, the existing carpet and padding must be recycled, down-cycled, or renewed. By recycling and buying recycled content (fiber and/or backing) and renewable (cleaned, retextured, and re-dyed) carpet tiles, we are reducing the environmental impact of our actions and saving resources (e.g., by diverting from landfills, reprocessing materials into new fiber, using post-industrial waste, saving oil, reducing global warming potential, etc.) that can be made into other products (e.g., automotive parts, parking barriers, lumbar alternatives, sod reinforcement, soundproofing). Most carpet manufactures have carpet-reclamation programs in place to accept old carpeting and padding. Contact Rick Farr, NBC Branch of Support Services, for additional information on how to have your carpeting and padding recycled.

  • Minimize waste by planning and coordinating your requirements.
  • Whenever possible, make double-sided copies when duplicating documents. If appropriate, consider using electronic transfer rather than paper copies.
  • Computers and some related equipment must be recycled.
  • Refrigerators, ice machines, water coolers, and other cooling equipment must be purged and certified to be free of all refrigerant before they can be discarded as waste or for salvage. This service is available on a reimbursable basis through the Branch of Support Services.
  • Properly dispose of all chemical wastes or excess. If assistance is desired, please contact Ken Tunney. The Federal Hazard Communication Program must be implemented for all chemicals for which a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is issued, and a copy of the MSDS must be posted in the workplace where the chemicals are used or stored. We also ask that you provide the Building Manager's Office (Mail Stop 1420-MIB) with a copy of the MSDS for each chemical; emergency-response personnel may require this information during emergency conditions.



Please do not hesitate to contact us with any pertinent questions or if you would like to have additional information. You may contact us through the administrative contact for your bureau or office, the OFAS service desk on (202) 208-2222.

Thank you for recycling! Your efforts to make our workplace more sustainable do make a difference.