Luther College recycling diverts large quantities of recyclable material from the landfill. Enhanced knowledge of and easy access to recycling are top priorities of the Center for Sustainable Communities. To accomplish these goals, Luther has partnered with Winneshiek County, the Department of Natural Resources, and other local and national programs to create a comprehensive and organized recycling system for the Norse community.

What can I recycle?

The standard recycling that you will find across campus includes collection for paper products, plastics & metals, and cardboard. Please place your recycling in the appropriately labeled bin. Any material that fits the description listed below, clean or dirty, can be recycled:

  • Paper products include white paper, colored paper, glossy paper, notebook paper, brown paper bags, newspaper, non-laminated signs, egg cartons, magazines, junk mail, and manila envelopes. Paper products do NOT include paper towels, napkins, paper plates or bowls, compostable food containers, milk and juice cartons, paper cups, or any paper with a wax coating.
  • Plastics & metals include plastic bottles, tin cans, aluminum cans, yogurt cups, aluminum foil, rigid plastic food containers, broken phone chargers, broken laptop chargers, and any plastic labeled #1-#7. 
  • Cardboard includes corrugated cardboard, pizza boxes, and cereal boxes. Wet, dry, clean, or dirty cardboard products can all be recycled.

Recycling bins for these items can be found across campus including all residence halls and academic buildings. Please consult the Winneshiek County Recycling website for additional details. For further questions do not hesitate to contact

What should I not recycle?

If you do not see an item listed above, we may not be able to recycle it here at Luther. Some commonly recycled items that we are UNABLE to process include glass, styrofoam, laminated paper, compostable utensils and bowls, wrapping paper, plastic wrapping, and saran wrap.

Where do I take my E-Waste?

Luther has a variety of options to handle E-Waste generated on campus. Call the Library Help Desk to recycle or reuse Luther-owned computers and other electronic equipment that you no longer need. Rechargeable batteries, empty printer cartridges, and CFL bulbs can be deposited in the Office Supplies Reuse Station in Valders 364. Look for the clearly marked boxes placed on the shelves to the right of the door. Printer cartridges can also be recycled in the Document Center. Alkaline batteries are not accepted at Luther or at the Winneshiek County Recycling Center.

What do I do with packing peanuts?

While most styrofoam cannot be recycled, packing peanuts and other packaging materials are collected in the hallway in Sampson Hoffland leading to the loading dock. These materials are then brought to local businesses that are able to reuse the packing peanuts.

Is there a place to recycle all of my old books?

Please bring books to the Library Circulation Desk where books can be reused, resold, or recycled. These books are sold at the annual library book sale. Hardcover and softcover book recycling is also available in the basement of Olin. Notebooks with blank pages left in them, old binders, and folders can be placed in the Office Supplies Reuse Closet in Valders 364.

What if I need extra recycling for an event?

Contact prior to your event to arrange for additional recycling and compost bins that will be collected after the event. Student workers will bring the bins to your event and collect them at the end. Make sure your event stays green and plan ahead.

Can I recycle my old clothes?

There are three thrift stores that accept donations of clothes, old appliances, and just about anything else that can be used at least once more in the Decorah area. Shopping at, and donating to, thrift stores is a great way to boost local economies by keeping money circulating in the area. The Depot Outlet, the Spectrum Thrift Store, and Goodwill are all within a few minutes drive of Luther College. Contact about ridesharing options.

How do I collect money for my redeemables?

Luther College does not collect redeemable glass, plastic, or metal. If you are interested in claiming your bottle deposit, please return your bottles to the store you purchased them from. Plastic and metal cans can also be recycled in the appropriately labeled bins. Glass that is not redeemed can be taken to the Winneshiek County Recycling Center or go directly into the trash.

Where can I put my grocery bags?

The best solution is to use a reusable bag when shopping, but if you end up with extra plastic grocery bags Luther has the solution. Luther has partnered with Trex Composite Lumber to recycle all plastic film, including grocery bags. Other types of plastic film include: bread bags, produce bags, beverage case plastic wrapping, newspaper sleeves, ice bags, wood pellet bags, ziploc bags, bubble wrap, rock salt bags, cereal bags, and shipping pallet wrap. You can drop off your plastic film in the following locations: Baker Village Commons, Brunsdale Lounge, Farwell, Marty’s, and the Center for Sustainable Communities.