Additional Recycling Programs

Soft Plastic Film Recycling Program: 

Plastic Film Recycling Pilot Program was initiated in March 2018 at locations in Bldg 10-B2 level and has expanded to Bldgs. 13, 14C, 35A, 37, 45 and 50. The program requires NIH employees to recycle clean and dry plastic films in collection boxes located at listed buildings. The full recycling collection boxes are picked up by ESI and stored in a dumpster which is transported to the recycling facility and shipped to manufacturing companies that use the film to manufacture plastic wood for railing, decks, cladding, etc. In CY2019 the NIH generated 21.92 tons of commingled HDPE and commingled LDPE plastic film as compared to 9.62 tons in CY2018.


 Pipette Tip Racks:

Please empty your pipette tip racks into the designated burgundy collection bins, which are typically located in the hallways or near elevators. The pipette tip racks shipped directly to a processor to be melted into black pellets. The pallets are shipped to a processor to make flowerpots.

Construction Debris:

Sun Recycling culls the loads for recyclable materials through a combination of automated and manual methods to separate Brick, Concrete, Asphalt, Metal (Ferrous and Non-ferrous), Wood, Dirt, and Cardboard. These materials are then shipped to their respective processors. Fines are shipped to landfill for use as cover and trash/debris is shipped for waste-to-energy incineration.

Scrap Metals:

Transported to Montgomery Scrap where separates the metals by type (ferrous vs. non-ferrous) and ships to processing facilities to melt the metal into ingots for reuse in manufacturing.  

Wooden Pallets:

Transported to Valleywood where resell pallets in good condition and repair damaged pallets for resale.

Toner and Ink Cartridges:

Please empty your toner and ink cartridges into the designated burgundy collection bins, which are typically located in the corridors or near elevators. The toners transported to Virginia where they are sorted, boxed and shipped for remanufacturing.


Flatten cardboard and place them next to general recycling bins or on loading docks in cardboard recycling racks. Cardboards are transported to Georgetown Paper Stock where it is baled and shipped to a paper mill to make new fiberboard boxes for variety of uses.


Styrofoam Take-Back Program: (currently not an active program)

The NIH Styrofoam Return Program is the FY2018 Project/Program winner of Green Labs HHS Green Champions Award. It was initiated in 2010 as a free take back program by Thermo Fisher Scientific at building 35 and has expanded to loading docks of Bldg 10-B2, 50, 35, 37 and 49. Although Thermo Fischer Scientific (TFS) molded expanded polystyrene (EPS) coolers are essential for shipping temperature-sensitive products like highly valuable clinical lab specimens to perishable biological and chemical products. The EPS coolers are economical, durable, lightweight, CFC free and suitable for domestic transportation, but the recycling of Styrofoam packaging materials is economically unsustainable due to the cost of recycling and of transportation associated with moving large volume of bulky material to recycling facilities. The program requires TFS couriers that deliver the EPS coolers/packages of biological and chemical products to pick up the collected coolers at a central accumulation location on the building loading dock at the end of their shift and return them to the distribution warehouse for cleaning for reuse. The success of this program has resulted in positive environmental and economic impacts since coolers are recycled free of charge to the NIH for beneficial reuse which eliminates its disposal in landfill and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. NIH coolers diverted from landfill increased from 513 pounds in 2010 to 3,671 pounds in 2018 and 3,780 pounds in 2019. The benefits of this environmental stewardship help the NIH to achieve its goal to recycle at least 50% of all non-hazardous solid waste.