HomeSearch Sitemap Contact

Shortcuts Go
   Request Services Maps & Floor Plans In Development & Construction Sustainability About Us Parking and Transportation For Facilities Employees  
nav bullet off Central Utilities Plant
nav bullet off Green Space on Campus
nav bullet off High Performance Buildings
nav bullet off MIT Efficiency Forward
nav bullet on Recycling
 - How to Reduce
 - Recycling Facts
 - What Can Be Recycled
 - Waste Facts
 - FAQs
nav bullet off Solar Power Purchase Agreement

Frequently Asked Questions About Recycling at MIT

Hallway Clutter
Lab Equipment
Light Bulbs
Recycling Bins
Recycling Services, Costs, and Hours of Operation
Reduce, Reuse, Recycling, and Rethink
Toner and Inkjet Cartridges
Wood and Furniture


How do I recycle batteries?

MIT now accepts all types of batteries for recycling, including domestically manufactured alkaline batteries. How to dispose of batteries on campus, depends on what kind they are. Any battery with a terminal must have that area taped over in order to prevent fires during collection and transportation.

Place batteries in a Battery disposal bin. Do not send through interdepartmental mail. Battery disposal bins are located in Facilities Stockroom, E19-107; VWR Stockroom, 56-068; EHS, N52-496; all residence halls; and most Distributed Mail Centers (DMCs).

[to top]


Does MIT collect food waste for compost?

There are several dining areas on campus that collect food waste that gets turned into compost. Compostable items sold at these cafes include food and paper goods, but do not include plastic dinnerware or styrofoam.

MIT also collects waste from food preparation in dining facilities, some student residences and independent living groups.

How can my kitchen or restaurant participate in the composting program?

Potential areas of expansion include FSILGs and other kitchens or restaurants located on campus that are not part of the current program. All that is needed to set up a program is one dedicated person on the dining staff or within a living group to take ownership of the program, oversee it and ensure that high quality, uncontaminated and clean organic materials are accumulated. If you are interested in the program or would like to create a pilot project, please send an email to

[to top]


What is the difference between eWaste and TechnoCycle?

eWaste is electronic waste such as Monitors, CPUs, Televisions, Printers, Copiers, and their components (mice, keyboards, speakers, etc.)

TechnoCycle is electronic waste related to daily-use technologies; such as, cell phones, PDAs, pagers, floppy disks, CDs and CD cases, video tapes, cables and wires.

How do I recycle eWaste?

Facilities does not charge for the pick up of any electronic items.To request a pick-up of your office CPUs, monitors, printers, fax machines, and other electronics go to Atlas. Allow 3-5 days for pick up of these items due to high demand for this service.

There are no centralized drop-off areas at MIT for eWaste. Dumping of materials on loading docks
Loading docks at Building N52
, in closets, in basements, or in hallways creates hazardous situations. Please contact us to arrange a pick-up.

How do I recycle TechnoCycle?

TechnoCycle bins
TechnoCycle bins
are located in most Distributed Mail Centers (DMCs). .

Refer to our eWaste and TechoCycle recycling guidelines for information on what can be recycled and how to prepare your items for pick-up.

[to top]

Hallway Clutter

How do I get something removed from my office/lab?

Prior to removal, contact the Property Office to deactivate any electronic items and delete contents from computers. After that, go to Atlas to request a pick up. Under the Service Requests tab click on Create Request.

How long will it take to get the items removed?

The goal is to have items scheduled to be removed within 2-3 business days. The Recycling Program will work with you to let you know if it will take longer to pick up the materials.

Who is responsible for removing the items? Is it Custodial Services or the Recycling Program?

The MIT Recycling program will remove the materials. However, Custodial Services will collaborate with our Customer Service Center (CSC) on collecting information on items left in halls.

What if an item remains unclaimed in a hallway?

Our Custodial Services supervisors will tag and photograph items that appear to be abandoned. The CSC staff will email a photo of the item to our contacts in that particular building to request information on the status of the item. If no one contacts our Customer Service Center staff within 30 days, the item will be designated for removal.

Is Facilities providing moving services again? I thought that Facilities/Grounds Services stopped providing moving services.

The moving of items for recycling is done by the Recycling Program staff. Grounds Services does not supply moving services, but will coordinate those services for our customers through our preferred vendor Your Move.

[to top]

Lab Equipment

How do I recycle lab equipment or appliances (White Goods)?

Incubators, refrigerators, and other white goods must be removed by an MIT Recycling Team member. Please submit a work request through Atlas to schedule a pick-up of your items. Refer to our White Goods Recycling guidelines for information on what can and can not be recycled. There are no centralized drop-off areas at MIT for White Goods. Dumping of materials on loading docks, in closets, in basements, or in hallways creates hazardous situations.

Please note: The proper disposal of white goods is regulated under both Massachusetts and, in most cases, Federal Law. Responsible handling of your white goods ensures that MIT and your department are complying with disposal restrictions. Equipment that has been improperly abandoned will be traced back to the source for removal charges.

[to top]

Light Bulbs

How do I recycle or replace a light bulb?

All light bulbs must be disposed of properly under Massachusetts and Federal Law. To replace light bulbs or to request pickup of light bulbs, submit a request through Atlas. Or, contact the Environment, Health and Safety Office to schedule removal of light bulbs.

[to top]

Recycling Bins

How do I get a recycling bin?

It depends on which kind you need. MIT utilizes two sizes of bins for indoor recycling: a desk-side bin
Desk-side bin
and a centralized indoor bin
Centralized indoor bin

The desk-side bin
Desk-side bin
is approximately the same size as a desk-side trash can. There is no charge to MIT departments for the desk-side bins. To order, go to Service Requests in Atlas. Then, fill out the order form. Your bin will be sent within five business days.

The centralized indoor bin
Centralized indoor bin
is approximately the size of a hallway trash bin. The Department of Facilities supplies bins for hallways. The Recycling program has some funding to supply these type of bins to DLCs. However, depending on the quanitity needed, DLCs may be responsible for ordering centralized bins for their offices, labs, conference rooms, and lunch rooms based on quantity available..

We are doing a major clean out of files. How do I get a really large bin?

A 96-gallon wheeling tote
is available to a department to accommodate file purges, office clean-outs, overprints, and any other "spring cleaning". Please submit a work request through Atlas to schedule a drop-off. Be sure to fill in the dates for us to drop the bin off and pick it up.

[to top]

Recycling Services, Costs, and Hours of Operation

How do I schedule recycling services?

We require a work request submitted through Atlas to perform recycling services such as clean-outs, scrap and obsolete item removal, and events recycling. Once the work request has been submitted, a representative will contact you to schedule an appropriate time and date. Please note: we do not charge for any of our services.

How much do recycling services cost?

There is no charge for the removal of recycling.

What are the Recycling Program’s hours of operation?

Regular Recycling Team’s hours are 7 AM to 2:30 PM, Monday through Friday. As of July of 2014, the Recycling Office began limited coverage during the evening shift of 3:00-11:00 PM.

[to top]

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rethink

How do I get involved with recycling at MIT?

There are many opportunities, whether you are a student, staff member, faculty member, researcher or visitor. The first step is to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rethink! Get a good recycling bin and use it every day. Become a recycling ambassador.

How do I reduce how much solid waste I produce?

The first step in reducing the amount of solid waste you produce is to stop buying so much stuff! With every purchase we make we are not just buying the item we want—we are also buying the packaging and other extraneous materials that commonly come with products.

Are there places on campus where I can donate stuff I don't need any more?

Many avenues exist for reuse at MIT. If you have furniture or other items in great condition, you can make arrangements with the MIT Student Furniture Exchange at WW15 to arrange a drop-off. Or, you can join the list to donate or locate materials. Items with an MIT sticker must be deactivated by the Property Office before equipment can be donated. Call MIT extension 3-2779 for more information.

There are also clothing and book collection bins on campus.

What is the MIT Recycling Rate?

MIT has a healthy recycling rate of 49%. This is excellent when compared across the country to other education institutions. Can we do better? Absolutely.

[to top]

Toner and Inkjet Cartridges

How do I recycle toner cartridges?

The best thing to do with a toner cartridge is to return it to the manufacturer or company you ordered it from. That way it can be reused again instead of just being recycled. Look on the packaging for information on how to return it to the company. There is usually no charge for shipping.

[to top]

Wood and Furniture

How do I recycle pallets, crates, and wood?

Pallets, crates, wooden furniture, and other wood items can all be recycled at MIT as scrap wood. Wood can be treated or un-treated. Submit a work request through Atlas and a representative will contact you to schedule removal. Large wooden items may pose tripping and fire hazards, and can block accessibility through hallways and on loading docks. Please be responsible with placement.

How do I recycle furniture?

Our Recycling Team can judge how old or unwanted furniture will be disposed of. In many cases, furniture in excellent condition may be reused by the MIT community. If the furniture you are disposing of is in excellent condition, please make arrangements with the MIT Student Furniture Exchange (FX), at WW15 to arrange a drop-off. If furniture is unusable, it will be recycled as scrap metal or scrap wood. In rare cases, some furniture may be disposed of as trash. In all cases, please submit a work order through Atlas to get furniture removed.

[to top]

 MIT Environment, Health & Safety
 Order Recycling Services
 Working Green Committee
 Office of Sustainability
 Cambridge Department of Public Works
 Do's and Don'ts of Recycling
 eWaste and TechnoCycle
 TechnoCycle bin locations
 Choose to Reuse


Department Directory

Recycling and Materials Management

Ruth T. Davis

Jarrod Jones
Recycling and Solid Waste Management

Customer Service Center

Office Hours: Mon - Fri 7 AM 4:30 PM
Phone: 617-253-4948
Building: 7-019

making MIT work Massachusetts Institute of Technology