ORNL Recycling Opportunities

Recycling Information By Material

mixed paper
mixed paper
aluminum can
aluminum cans

toner cartridges
scrap metal
scrap metal


coal ash
fluorescent lamps


foam peanuts

Paper Recycling

Originally, white non-glossy paper was collected separately from all other paper at ORNL. Due to changing markets for recycled paper, we now collect all paper for recycling together. Whether a bin is green, blue, or black, use them for all paper (including phone books) to be recycled.

Paper generated in labs or areas of buildings where radioactive or hazardous materials are used are barred from this recycling program.

The Knoxville Recycling Coalition has been contracted to pick up the bins when full. The custodial staff is not responsible for the operation of this program. Please see below for a listing of examples of paper that can be recycled, tips on paper recycling, and some paper recycling facts.

Examples of Paper That Can Be Recycled
Paper That Can
Be Recycled
Paper That Can
Be Recycled
Things That Should
NOT Be Put In Any
Paper Recycling Bin
Copier PaperColored PaperWaxed Paper
LetterheadNewspaperWaxed Cartons
Writing PaperMagazinesNapkins
Tractor Feed Computer PaperPhone BooksTissues
Green Bar Computer PaperFile FoldersTowelling
Envelopes (without windows)Reports Bound With GlueCups
Message paperGlossy, Coated PapersPaper Dishes
Reports Bound With StaplesBooksBrown Paper Bags
White Paper With Colored InkPaper Ream Wrappers3-ring Binders
Blueprints and PhotosSelf Stick NotesPlastic Viewgraphs

Federal RegistersCarbon Paper

Candy Wrappers

Plastic of any kind

IMPORTANT NOTICE: For documents containing personal identifier information see tip below.


Not all documents that CAN be recycled SHOULD be recycled. Given the issues of identity theft and operations security (OPSEC), documents with personally identifiable information (PII) must be considered as too sensitive to recycle. PII includes social security numbers, dates of birth, passport numbers, and home addresses and phone numbers. Remember the following:

When paper documents containing PII are to be discarded, they must be destroyed by shredding, either by use of your own shredder or by placing the documents in a bin approved to hold unclassified sensitive information until it is shredded. Several divisions have opted to have a CINTAS Security Bin placed within their areas to handle this type of information (the bins take paper, floppies, CDs, and jaz and zip drives). CINTAS comes once a month and does the actual shredding here at ORNL, then recycles the paper; you don’t have to do any of the shredding yourself. If you would like to have a CINTAS bin for your division, please contact Jamie Johnson of ORNL’s Office of Technical Information and Classification.

NOTE: the bins are large (the same size as the 95-gal green or blue mixed paper recycle bins), dark-gray containers with a small slot, a locked top, and “CINTAS Security Container” notation on the top.



For every ton of paper recycled your office will: RECYCLING INDEX

Aluminum Can Recycling

Aluminum cans are collected for recycling in many buildings at ORNL. Areas that have aluminum can collection have either blue metal drums or gray can crusher bins for collecting the cans. In most building, we depend on volunteers to take the bagged aluminum to a central location for shipping. Please empty all liquid out of cans before recycling. If you would like to volunteer to help with this program and/or would like to have a bin placed in your area, call the ORNL Recycling Coordinator at 576-7396.

For information about the aluminum can pull tab recycling to aid the Ronald McDonald House, contact Susan Jennings.


Plastic Recycling

ORNL has a recycling contract in place for #1 and #2 plastics commonly used in soft drink and water bottles; however, pickup is limited to only a few locations. ORNL staff can collect plastic drink bottles in any lunch room or break room, but we rely on volunteers to deliver the bagged plastic bottles to the collection bin outside 7013, just up the hill from the gas pumps.


Toner Cartridge Recycling

A program exits to collect, remanufacture and re-use laser printer, fax, and microfiche toner cartridges. Collection points have been set up in most buildings. It is very important that spent cartridges be put back into the foil bag, packaging, and box that the new one comes in for safe shipping. DO NOT send cartridges back to the manufacturer for recycling.

A listing of Stores catalog numbers of remanufactured toner cartridges is found in the Affirmative Procurement section We have found that the remanufactured toner cartridges that we purchase work as well or better than original equipment manufacturer (OEM) cartridges. Like OEM cartridges, there will always be a remanufactured cartridge that does not work properly. If this occurs, please fax a copy of the Quality Report Form and an example of the problem to NuCycle Technologies at 522-1819. Copies of the Quality Report Form come with each NuCycle cartridge. Copies can also be obtained from Division offices or by calling 576-7396.

Although we are not yet buying remanufactured cartridges for inkjet printers, we have begun collecting all cartridges from these machines. All Xerox copy machine cartridges are recycled under a service agreement with Xerox. Spent Xerox cartridges can either be left by the copy machine for the Xerox service technician to pick-up or placed with the spent laser printer cartridges for pick-up. Either way the cartridges will be recycled by Xerox.


Corrugated Cardboard Recycling

In most buildings, the janitorial staff places waste corrugated boxes next to garbage dumpsters or in specially marked metal cages for separate pick-up. When you are done with a box, please remove all non-corrugated packaging (styrofoam, plastic, etc.) and place next to your waste pail or in a hallway. The janitor will take care of it from there.


Lamp Recycling

ORNL generates about 22,000 waste fluorescent and incandescent lamps per year. Small amounts of mercury found in fluorescent lamps and lead solder in the tips of the incandescent lamps make it undesirable to send these lamps to the sanitary landfill. Today ORNL ships whole fluorescent and incandescent lamps off-site to a recycler that recovers the mercury and recycles the glass and metal in the lamp. Other types of lamps and the occassional broken lamps are also accepted. Only clean/green-tagged lamps may be managed for recycle. Radioactively-contaminated lamps must be managed as mixed waste. Bulbs leaving RMMAs must be surveyed by radiological control technicians (RCTs) before removal from the RMMA.

At ORNL the used lamps are managed as Universal Waste. Persons managing waste lamps must take the web-based Universal Waste training Module 90909. Universal Waste Training is required one-time only. Waste bulbs are collected by electricians in accordance with the latest version of Facilities and Operations (F&O) Procedure F&O-ADM-007.

ORNL staff may also encounter incidental bulbs (projectors, desk lamps, etc.). Staff encountering these bulbs must submit a Facility Service Request to have bulbs picked up from a general area for placement into an F&O Universal Waste Storage Area (Refer to F&O internal operating procedure F&O-ADM-007.

These materials are recycled a few times a year and bulbs in the waste storage area must be delivered to by electricians to Building 7022 for recycling. Staff can contact their EPO/ECR to ensure proper management while awaiting pick-up. For questions about this recycling program contact Debbie Dillener (576-7396). For access to the lamp storage area at 7022, contact Jack McCollister or one of the waste handlers at 241-3158. See the LWS "How do I manage this waste?" site for more information.


Battery Recycling

All types of batteries are recycled at ORNL. They can be recycled by placing them in a collection bucket in your building. Waste batteries are managed as Universal Waste and include lead acid (other than automotive batteries which are managed at the garage), nickel/cadmium, lithium, mercury and silver batteries. Non-mercury alkaline batteries are accepted in the Universal Waste program and may be managed with other Universal Waste batteries. No batteries should be disposed of in the trash. New battery collection buckets are issued by the Pollution Prevention Program.

Persons managing waste batteries must take the web-based Universal Waste training, Module 90909. Universal Waste Training is required one-time only. The list of currently assigned custodians is available on the web. Contact the 'Battery Bucket Custodian' in your building to find out where the bucket is located. To set up a battery collection point in your building contact Debbie Dillener at 576-7396 or e-mail at dillenerda@ornl.gov.

How to manage batteries:

  1. The generator or custodian should wrap electrical tape around each battery covering the terminals to reduce fire hazard. Note: It is better to wrap the entire battery than to cut small pieces for each terminal. The small pieces do not stick well.
  2. The generator or custodian may: (1) place batteries in a collection bucket issued by the Pollution Prevention Program; (2) provide their own labeled container; or (3) label and manage each battery separately.
  3. No leaking batteries in the bucket. The generator or custodian ensures that leaking batteries are properly managed and disposed of as hazardous waste per the Hazardous Waste Subject Area.
  4. The Battery Bucket Custodian must make sure the accumulation container or each individual battery is labeled "Used Batteries - Universal Waste."
  5. Used batteries can not be stored for more than a year. The Battery Bucket Custodian must record the collection start date on each bin or individual battery and the date the bin is emptied to document compliance.
  6. Batteries must be green-tagged prior to submission for shipment. This is the Battery Bucket Custodian's responsibility. One green tag per bucket is acceptable, and the Part B certification is sufficient.
  7. The generator or custodian must ensure that batteries from RMMAs are not managed as Universal Waste and are not recycled because of the DOE scrap metal moratorium, ensuring that batteries from RMMAs are handled based on gerenator knowledge of their other components.
  8. Generators and custodians on the P2 list are notified by P2 via e-mail 2 – 3 times each year to take their batteries to 7020E prior to shipment.


Foam Peanut Recycling

Foam peanuts that have been used for packaging are reused by the ORNL Shipping Department. Divisions can set up a collection point for foam peanuts and store the peanuts in large plastic bags. When 2 or more bags are accumulated, the Division may find a volunteer to take the peanuts to 7001 or call Debbie Dillener (576-7396) for pick-up.


Scrap Metal Recycling

ORNL generates hundreds of tons of recyclable scrap metal annually. The Off-Site Recycling of Clean Scrap Metal subject area defines the requirements for handling, accumulating, and shipping of this material to ensure that no prohibited items are added to scrap metal destined for off-site recycle. See the list of Scrap Metal Accumulation Containers and Custodians. Some of the scrap metal container locations on the list do not have a designated Scrap Metal Custodian or responsible division listed. If you have any information about the locations that do not have complete information, please contact Debbie Dillener (576-7396) to provide the missing details.

Modified: 09/10/2007