EMU continues to be recognized nationally for an innovative and successful recycling program. Recycling staff and student workers collect 70 tons annually of recyclable materials and compost from across campus using custom-built bicycles pulling specially-designed, eight-foot trailers that can haul hundreds of pounds at a time.

EMU was again the RecycleMania champion of Virginia in 2019, for the fifth straight year finishing first among participating Virginia colleges and universities in the Competition Division (diversion subcategory) of the annual nationwide contest. EMU’s recycling rate of 50 percent also placed it 34th nationally.

Campus Recycling Guidelines

Labeled, color-coded recycling bins are placed throughout academic buildings and residence halls and follow a general color scheme:


  • Blue bins = Bottles and cans
  • Green bins = Paper
  • Gray bins = Cardboard

Printable guidelines

For information about recycling non-standard materials such as plastic bags, electronics, etc., please take a look at these additional guidelines

Off-Campus (Community) Recycling Guidelines

Faculty, staff, students living off campus, and all community members are welcome to bring their cardboard and paper recycling to the EMU Paper Trailer located at the north end of the Facilities Maintenance loading dock (994 Parkwood Dr.). We cannot accept can/bottle recycling or any trash. PAPER AND CARDBOARD ONLY. Materials must be sorted into bins as follows:

Other Community Recycling Options

Books, clothing, furniture, miscellaneous

Gift & Thrift / Booksavers of Virginia
731 Mt. Clinton Pike
Harrisonburg, VA 22802
(540) 433-8844

Mercy House Thrift Store 
1005 S. High St.
Harrisonburg, VA
(540) 433-3273 

2025 E. Market Street
Harrisonburg, VA
(540) 432-9600

2475 S. Main Street
Harrisonburg, VA
(540) 434-6050 


The Paradox of Recycling - A video produced by four EMU CJP students about the state of recycling in Harrisonburg and EMU in 2015.

Recycling at EMU - Short promotional video about how EMU recycles.

What happens to the items we recycle?

Plastic Products

  • Plastic bottles that are type #1 or #2 are taken to Dave’s Recycling in Harrisonburg. They are crushed and baled, and sold wholesale to buyers internationally. 
  •  Plastics #3-7 have no market value, and so are unfortunately disposed of in the landfill.
  • Plastic grocery bags are baled right here on campus, and are bought by Valley Paper. They become Trex decking, a premium rot-proof product!

Other Bottles and Cans 

  • Aluminum and steel cans, as well as other metal products go to Rockingham Scrap Metal, located almost within walking distance of campus on N. Liberty Street. 
  • Glass products are used as a crushed aggregate to cover the Rockingham County Landfill. Though not truly recycled, it is repurposed. 

Paper Products 

  • Valley Paper based out of Dayton, Virginia is the sole purchaser of recyclable paper products from EMU.  
  • Mixed paper is frequently sent overseas to developing countries, and becomes shredded to be used as insulation. 
  • Newspapers are turned into the paper face of drywall used in building construction. 
  • Cardboard is purchased by a box manufacturing company based out of Lynchburg, VA: International Paper Co. The cardboard is shredded, turned into a pulp, and then pushed through a special screen where it becomes new cardboard! 

Contact Information

Questions, Comments, Crazy Stories? 
(540) 432-4546
Instagram: eastern_mennonite_recycling

Text Here...
visit graphicVisit
apply graphicApply