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Information for Students > Sustainability at Rush > Recycling Efforts at Rush
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Rush's easy-to-use recycling program includes mixed paper (including newspapers, office paper, envelopes and magazines), glass, all plastics (except styrofoam <#6>, corn-plastic containers <PE>, and plastic bags), and empty cans (steel and aluminum).

Our program began at Rush in the Armour Academic Center. Large recycling kiosks as well as individual recycling bins were placed on all floors. Bins have been placed in many other Rush buildings, including the Atrium, Annex, Cohn building and Center Court Gardens. Other buildings will be launched as we work out the details to make them compliant with code requirements.

The program is easy to use. The bins are color-coded: blue containers for paper (including newspapers, envelopes and magazines); green for glass, all plastics ((except styrofoam <#6>, corn-plastic containers <PE>, and plastic bags), and empty cans; and black or gray for food waste and other non-recyclable trash. Please note that all cans and bottles must be empty!

By taking the simple step of putting your empty bottles and cans, plastics, paper documents and envelopes and other recyclable materials in these containers instead of the trash, you will be reducing garbage, preserving natural resources and making the environment healthier for our patients, our families and ourselves.

Many Rush departments also utilize services of a shredding company to dispose of confidential records. 98% of paper placed in a shredding bin is eventually recycled after it has been put through the shredder.

Before you toss records into the recycling or shredding bin, please note that records created in the course of business at Rush University Medical Center are the property of the Medical Center and should not be destroyed or removed from Medical Center jurisdiction without an Archives consultation. Please confer with a staff member at the Archives before transferring or destroying old or inactive files. They will determine which records are of permanent value and should become part of the Medical Center's permanent Archives. To arrange for a free Archives consultation, please call (312) 942-7214, or send an e-mail to

See a quick summary of what may and may not be recycled.

Just look at the difference recycling can make:

One ton of recycled paper saves:

  • 17 trees from being cut down
  • 380 gallons of oil
  • 4,102 kilowatt hours of electricity
  • 3 cubic yards of landfill space
  • 7,000 gallons of water

In one year, the United States throws away enough office paper to build a wall 12 feet high and 12 feet wide stretching from California to New York.

Recycling plastic reduces energy consumption by 85 to 90 percent.
Most plastics are made from oil, so the more we recycle, the more we can reduce our dependence on foreign oil and keep down energy costs, including gasoline prices.

Recycling one pound of aluminum (about 16 soft drink cans) saves 7.5 kilowatt hours of electricity.
Recycling aluminum reduces the air pollution caused by aluminum mining by 95 percent and the water pollution by 97 percent.
Americans throw enough aluminum away to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet every three months.

Look at the difference you can make!

In 2009, Rush diverted 898 tons of materials from landfills. According to our partner, Allied Waste, this resulted in:

  • Trees Saved : 15,266
  • Electricity Saved: 3,683,514 KW
  • Oil Saved: 341,232 gallons
  • Water Saved : 6,285,860 gallons
  • Yards Diverted from Landfill: 2,694 yards

Allied Waste reported for 2009 that:

  • 79% of waste from the Triangle Office Building is being recycled.
  • 26% of waste from the Professional Office Building is now being recycled.
  • 14% of waste from the Center Court Gardens Apartments is being recycled through our new program there.
  • 10% of waste from the Atrium Building is being recycled.

1n 2007, Rush recyled:

  • 750 tons of cardboard and paper
  • 18,408 light bulbs
  • 119,635 gallons of grease and oil
  • 2,371 gallons of xylene/ethanol
  • Individual departments also recycle toner and ink cartridges

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