Working Green at MIT - Working Group Recycling Committee


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Recycle at MIT

Batteries | Cans, bottles, cardboard, paper, plastics | Electronic Waste
| Hardcover Books


Domestically manufactured alkaline batteries made after 1994 no longer contain mercury, so they can be disposed of safely in regular trash. However, nickel-cadmium rechargeable batteries, button batteries (like those used in watches and hearing aids), and the lithium batteries in computers and cameras should NOT be put in regular trash.

MIT recycles the following batteries:

  • Nickel cadmium (Ni-Cd) rechargables
  • Nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH)
  • Lithium ion (Li-ion)
  • Laptop batteries
  • Small lead acid (< 2 lbs.)

To recycle batteries:

  • Battery disposal bins are located in DMCs and all residence halls.
  • For lead acid larger than 2 lbs. please contact MIT's Environmental Management Office to schedule a hazardous waste pickup.

For more information:

Cans, bottles, cardboard, plastics and paper go in one bin

Cans and bottles

Recycle all glass, aluminum, metal, and all plastics numbered 1-7. Any glass, aluminum, or plastic item can be placed in a recycling bin. Check the bottom of plastic cups, plates, utensils, catering trays and lids, and aluminum pans for the recycling arrows. Remove all food from the containers because food oils contaminate recycling. It is not necessary to remove labels or lids


Small pieces of corrugated cardboard and paperboard can be thrown in the desk side bins or common area blue "Slim Jim" bins. Boxes and larger amounts can be placed beside the desk side bins and will be removed for recycling by Custodial Services. Please help our custodians by flattening all of your cardboard boxes.


All glass bottles and jars of any color can be recycled. No pyrex, broken glass, light bulbs, or ceramics.


Recycle all paper in desk side or Slim Jim bins. Include all white and colored paper, newspapers, envelopes with or without plastic windows, file folders and manila envelopes (with metal or adhesive).


The number on plastic indicates what it is made from. Any plastic item numbered 1-7 is recyclable at MIT. However, even though plastic bags and styrofoam have a number, they are not recyclable through the single stream program.

Do NOT place these items in any MIT recycling bin

  • Styrofoam containers and cups
  • Plastic bags*
  • Bubble wrap, air pockets
  • Plastic cling wrap or baggies
  • Packing materials, such as peanuts, polystyrene Styrofoam blocks
  • Trash
  • Tissues, paper towels, napkins
  • Pizza boxes with oil
  • Tyvek envelopes (you can recycle them by mailing them to DuPont)
  • Hardcover books (donate in one of the Got Books bins on campus)

*Plastic bags are recycled in a separate recycling stream from other plastics. Please do not put them the blue recycling bins.

Electronic Waste


To request a free pick up of monitors, CPUs, printers, fax machines and other equipment, or large volumes of TechnoCycle, submit a request through Atlas.

Items with an MIT sticker must be deactivated by the Property Office before equipment can be recycled. Call MIT extension 3-2779.


TechnoCycle bins are located in most Distributed Mail Centers (DMC's). These bins will accept:

  • All electronic media and their cases: diskettes, zip disks, CDs, CD-Rs, CD-RWs, DVDs, video tape, audio tape, game cartridges, DAT, DLT and virtually all other computer tapes
  • Hard drives, Zip and Jaz drives, jump drives, etc.
  • Inkjet cartridges
  • All cell phones, pagers, PDAs and their chargers, cables, and headset accessories
  • All small computer accessories such as keyboards, mice, MP3 players, iPods, digital cameras, hand-held scanners, handheld games and other connected devices
  • All cords, cables, boards, chips, etc. removed from a computer
  • Laptop computers

Toner & inkjet cartridges

Most DMCs contain drop boxes for used toner cartridges. If your mail room needs a bin, or your bin needs emptying, submit a request via Atlas.

Also in most mail rooms, you can find postage-paid mailers for recycling smaller inkjet cartridges. Smaller inkjet cartridges can also be recycled in TechnoCycle bins.

Hardcover books

Hardcover books can be placed in book donation bins located in back of Next House (Building W71) and next to Building 46. Contents of these bins are picked up by an organization called Got Books.

For more information on the Recycling Program at MIT

  • Visit the Department of Facilities
  • Email or