Skip to content

Working Green at MIT - Working Group Recycling Committee

Reuse/recycle

  • Reuse/Recycle
  • How to Conserve
  • Buy Green
  • News & Events
  • About Us
  • Volunteer

Reuse at MIT

MIT Reuse lists

Reuse is a group email list for exchanging free and for-sale items located at MIT or within the greater Boston area. To post, you need only send an email to the list, but be sure to read through the rules of use before posting.  Please make sure any items with MIT Property Office stickers are deactivated (contact the Property Office at 3-2776). And please clean up any unclaimed items and dispose of them properly. Do not leave items in the hallway of your office building. The Recycling Office staff will remove the items for you and will reuse them if possible. Submit a request via the Atlas web page.

  • : to post availability of free items—laboratory or computer equipment, clothing, household items, office supplies, etc.
  • : to ask for items like the above
  • : to sell items
  • : to ask for or offer housing

To subscribe to the MIT reuse list, go to http://mailman.mit.edu/mailman/listinfo/reuse

What to do with leftovers? There is an email address, freefood@mit.edu, to use when there is food leftover after a meeting. In your email indicate whether people should bring their own plates to carry the food away.

MIT reuse exchanges/programs

Choose to Reuse

Held on the third Thursday of the month during the academic year, Choose to Reuse is hosted by the Green Committee and the Recycling Office. In April, the event is held on the fourth Thursday to coincide with Earth Week. The purpose of the event is to extend the life of stuff and to preserve the Earth by sharing. The event is held in the TSMC Lobby of the Stata Center, Building 32.

MIT Equipment Exchange

MIT Equipment Exchange holds surplus lab, computer, and office furniture for reuse within the Institute. Items not claimed for on campus transfer are sold to the general public for reasonable prices. For more information, contact MIT's Property Office at 617.253.2779.

MIT Furniture Exchange

MIT Student Furniture Exchange (FX), a service of the Women's League since 1958, sells used furniture at bargain prices. All profits benefit the MIT Women's League Scholarship Fund. In order to continue this valuable service, the FX is always in need of donations of good, useable furniture, including sofas, chairs, tables, desks, beds, dressers, lamps, rugs, small appliances, cooking utensils, dishes, children's items, bikes, and more. All donations are tax-deductible and arrangements can be made for large items to be picked up. Contact: Phone: 617-253-4293, or .

Trash2Treasure

An annual reuse project, Trash2Treasure, is a two-part program sponsored by the UA Sustainability Committee. The goal is to reduce the amount that goes into landfills by reusing. Materials are collected during the end-of-year move-out and either sent to local donation facilities or sold at a Fall Reuse Sale at the start of the fall semester when the students come to campus. .

Swapfest

The MIT Radio Society sponsors a Swapfest (aka "Flea @ MIT") on the third Sunday of each month, April through October. Buy, sell, and swap amateur radio, electronic, and computer equipment.

Food and Yard Waste

Both yard and food wastes are collected separately and sent off-site for composting, amounting to about 61 tons of organic materials monthly.

Yard wastes (grass clippings, woody materials, leaves) are accumulated by Grounds Services and picked up by a local landscaping company. The discarded yard wastes, amounting to about 580 tons per year, are made into nutrient-rich loam and sold back to MIT throughout the year for use in MIT's landscaping.

MIT's comprehensive food waste composting program picks up organic waste and compostable materials in all of the dining facilities on campus and some student residences and independent living groups. This initiative is a win-win situation for MIT and eastern Massachusetts' farmers, who are supplied with a steady feedstock of nitrogen-rich food wastes. The program significantly reduces waste with approximately 12.5 tons of food discards per month diverted from landfills and incinerators.

For more information, contact .

Tips for reusing

Use rechargeable batteries

Purchase a battery charger from Staples, MIT's preferred office supplies provider. A large charger handles all sizes: AA, AAA, C, D, & 9V; and all types of rechargeable batteries: NiCd and NiMH. From an environmental perspective, NiMH batteries are the best—these batteries are available in AA/AAA sizes, are compatible with alkaline voltages, and can be recharged up to a thousand times by inexpensive chargers.

Share resources and goods

Create a departmental area to exchange unwanted or surplus office supplies. Rent, borrow, or share large office and laboratory equipment, with other departments at MIT, contact MIT's Property Manager, Michael McCarthy, at 617.253.2779 or .

Use reusable rather than disposable products

  • When planning an event at MIT or anywhere, use china and silverware rather than disposables.
  • Use reusable mugs, silverware and dishes at work. Make it easy for yourself and others to wash dishes by providing dish soap and a sponge at the closest sink.
  • Ask vendors to use biodegradable or recyclable packaging, or to take back their packaging and reuse it. Your voice is important!

Reuse paper products

  • Collect paper that has been used on one side in a small bin next to printers. Use this paper again by making copies or print outs for personal or reference use or staple bunches together for use as notebooks or scrap paper.
  • Give paper scraps to kids, schools, etc. for drawing and coloring.
  • Cut down on subscriptions and multiple copies of catalogs, magazines, newspapers, and other publications! Get one subscription and circulate it to various departments/offices or create a central library.
  • Post unwanted or surplus books, magazines, catalogs, or newspapers to , or donate to a library, school, or doctor's office waiting room.
  • Instead of making multiple copies, use one copy passed along via interdepartmental mail or post in a public space.