Another thing a large research site has, and in mighty impressive quantities, is paper. Something's got to be done with it, but not all laboratory paper is created equal.
Of course, a lot of the mass represents hard copies of files that exist in digital form. Non-proprietary stuff (journal articles that are no longer needed, etc.) will go into big recycling bins to be handled by guys who really have some long days ahead of them. A serious office move (and this is about as serious as it gets) is a good chance to toss ancient literature folders whose contents have become outdated. I just heaved out a pile of that stuff the other day, since I don't thing that 1991 reviews of Alzheimer's pathology are going to come back into fashion. I also had a bunch of miscellaneous hard copies of the Journal of Organic Chemistry from the early 1990s stuffed into a file cabinet - out they went. They were joined by old copies of C&E News, local phone books, 3-ring binder contents of short courses whose contents I don't expect to ever need, and a pile of chemical company and lab equipment catalogs.
Pages with proprietary data on them are a different matter. They're to be tossed in a special shredder box, to be picked up later by some other guys who are also going to earn their money. There are trailer-size portable shredder operations that you can hire for occasions like this. Compound lists, graphs of in vivo activity, photocopies of notebook procedures, handouts from project meetings - all that stuff is headed down this path. Different people save different amounts of this material. I save all the computer files, but heave most of the paper when a project finishes up, so I don't have as much in this category.
Things like printed NMR spectra used to be in a special category, because back in the days of expensive digital storage the hard copy was all you had. I guarded my NMR spectra pile fiercely in grad school, since I was going to need that data to get out of there. And in my first years in the industry, digital archiving was spotty. Now that gigabytes are carried around on key chains, all spectral data are automatically archived, so hard copies are just a convenience.
At the top of the paper mountain are lab notebooks. We switched over to an electronic notebook system a few years ago, but it didn't relieve us of the obligation of keeping a hard copy. Printouts are to be taped into the good ol' notebooks, and signed and witnesses just like the handwritten pages of yore. That's a legal requirement, and scientists at research sites across this great nation are regularly harangued about keeping up to date on it. It does little good. Researchers are just not wired to get things countersigned on a regular basis.
That can lead to some real problems for US patents in particular. We're still a "first to invent" country, while the rest of the world is mostly "first to file". And if you get in an argument about the date of an invention, well, lab notebooks are probably where you're going to end up. An invention that isn't signed and witnessed until a year or so later isn't going to help much in that situation. Admittedly, it's rare that things get to that point, but when they do it means that serious money is at stake.
So no one's throwing away any notebooks, that's for sure. And we're all getting them up to date, signed off on, etc. Companies keep track of every extant lab notebook - they're all numbered, and completed ones no longer in immediate use are kept under lock and key. Nothing's going to be allowed to slide.