Frequently Asked Questions

I love my Planet Blue water bottle but unfortunately I lost it. Can I get another one?

If extra water bottles are available, OCS is happy to provide one. We ask that in order to receive a replacement bottle you take the time to complete the Planet Blue Ambassador training. If you are already a Planet Blue Ambassador, please email planetblue@umich.edu.

When is U-M going to have an e-waste recycling event?

Regional partners such as cities and townships provide e-waste recycling throughout the year. We will post information at sustainability.umich.edu/ewaste.

Why don’t we have LED lamps in every building throughout campus?

We are currently working to upgrade lighting systems across campus. For many years, we felt that the technology in LED products on the market was not sufficient for our needs. Longevity, compatibility, and consistency were our largest concerns. The industry has developed and we now feel confident in the available lighting solutions. Now the challenge is to prioritize the buildings. The cost of installing LEDs across campus is high and our regular project budget will not allow us to do this changeover quickly.

How can I recycle ______________?

Look up specific items on our Recyclable Materials page. If you have further questions, email recycle@umich.edu.

Our lab would like to participate in the pipet tip box recycling program. Where can I find empty shipping boxes?

Empty shipping boxes are located at your loading dock. They come with pre-addressed postage-paid labels, so there is no cost to you. When you have filled a box with empty pipet tip boxes, seal and take it to your UPS pick-up station. For more information, contact sustainable-labs@umich.edu.

We would like to switch to Gel Red in place of toxic Ethidium Bromide. How can you help us?

Excellent choice! Gel Red is a safer product for your DNA and RNA gel work. Solid waste can go into trash and liquid waste can go down the drain. OCS can provide a free sample for you to try. If you’re satisfied with the results, you can purchase Gel Red at a discounted price of $70 per 500 uL vial through M-Market from VWR. For more information, contact sustainable-labs@umich.edu.

How can I get a recycling/landfill bin for my office?

Bin requests should be sent to recycle@umich.edu. Please let us know the type of bin you want (landfill or recycling) and where specifically it should be delivered.

Why can’t I recycle glass on campus?

Unfortunately, the university’s recycling facility partner, Western Washtenaw Recycling Authority, no longer accepts glass for recycling. The market for glass is very poor, with no manufacturer who wants to purchase old glass to make something new. This is why it is so important for all of us to purchase items that contain recycled content. When people buy recycled-content items, there is an incentive for companies to use recycled content in their products. As the demand for recycled content increases, recycling facilities are able to not only sell the material they collect, but can often also make enough money to reduce what customers (like U-M) have to pay for the recycling service.

How do I get my shredding bin emptied? Or, I need a shredding bin delivered to my office. When can you bring one?

The university does not provide shredding services. Please contact your department head or facility manager to find out who your shredding provider is in order to request service.

How can I get a tour of the recycling facility?

Since the Western Washtenaw Recycling Authority’s recycling facility isn’t designed for tours, these can be hard to schedule. If you are interested in scheduling a tour for a class, please email recycle@umich.edu at least 4 weeks in advance of your requested date.