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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.  (Grounds Services can remove the items for you, and recycle them if possible. Submit a request via the Building Services tab in SAPweb.)

  • : 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
  • : email to offer free (usually leftover) food

To subscribe to the MIT reuse list, go to

MIT reuse exchanges/programs

CommuniTech / Used Computer Factory (UCF)

CommuniTech attempts to bridge the Digital Divide—the perceived gap between those who have access to the latest information technologies and those who do not—through two programs. Through the Used Computer Factory (UCF), it provides refurbished computers to underserved families. Through Families Accessing Computer Technology (FACT), it trains those families to become familiar and comfortable with computer technology. For details on equipment that UCF will accept and to donate, visit CommuniTech's website. When donating computers, remove all personal items from the hard drive. The best method is to use software designed for this purpose.

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 .

Packing Peanuts Reuse Program

Donate reused packing peanuts in clean and usable condition to Mail Services for reuse in their packing service program. Mail Services will store a quantity sufficient to their needs; surplus packing peanuts are available to the MIT community by calling x3-6000. Send the peanuts to Mail Services in sealed bags through interdepartmental mail, addressed to: Packing Peanuts Reuse Program, WW15. Visit MIT's Facilities site for more information on the packing service. Please note: this program is only for packing peanuts: no other packing materials will be accepted.

Stuff Fest

Each spring as students pack up and leave the dorms for the summer, excess clothing and housewares are donated to Stuff Fest. This event, held at the end of May, can generate over 7,000 pounds of clothing, housewares, and food! The Women's League volunteers their support, and in exchange they gather clothing for their Interview Clothing for Women and Men program and housewares for the MIT Student Furniture Exchange. Items not appropriate for these causes are sent to Planet Aid. For more info, or to volunteer for Stuff Fest, email or .


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.


MIT's Composting Program reduces waste and pollution! Measured in pounds, the composting program is the single largest recycling and buy-recycled program on the MIT campus. Both yard and food wastes are collected separately and sent off-site for composting, amounting to about 80 tons of organic materials monthly.

Yard wastes (grass clippings, woody materials, leaves) are accumulated by MIT's Grounds Services and picked up by a local landscaping company. The discarded yard wastes, amounting to about 660 tons per year, are made into nutrient-rich loam and sold back to MIT throughout the year for use in MIT's landscaping.

MIT has implemented a comprehensive food waste composting program in all of the dining facilities 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 sent to MIT's trash incinerators and up to 25 tons of food discards per month are diverted from landfills.

The benefits of composting yard and food wastes are numerous. Composting reduces MIT's operational costs and decreases the need to treat crops with chemicals, reducing chemical pollution of our groundwater and streams. For more information, contact .

Tips for reusing

Use rechargeable batteries

Purchase a $15 battery charger from Office Depot via MIT ECAT. 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!

Use your library

Save money and the earth's resources by borrowing materials instead of buying them. The MIT Libraries have an extensive collection of mystery novels and popular fiction titles, as well as many cookbooks and audiobooks. You can browse the very latest fiction and non-fiction books via the Virtual Browsery.

How can you reuse books that you own, but no longer need? MIT Libraries accepts donations of scholarly materials that would enhance their collections. To find out if your materials qualify, contact the Libraries Gift Office at . What about that unscholarly, yet riveting novel you bought to read on the train? Trade it for a different book at the Community Book Swap in the Information Intersection (the Libraries space in the Stata Center, next to Forbes Cafe and the ATM machine).

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.
  • Reuse mailing envelopes, file folders, cardboard boxes, etc. by using labels to cover up the addressee portion of an envelope, or cross out with marker and reuse for personal or home use. Interdepartmental mailers are the perfect example of reuse; keep them going!