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Recycling Office leads the Institute's efforts to reduce waste

Whether it's conducting a waste audit or hosting Choose to Reuse, the Recycling and Materials Management Office is on the forefront of the Institute's efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. Through educational initiatives and infrastructure improvements made by the Recycling Office, during the past three fiscal years the Institute produced less trash and more recycling. From FY15 to FY16 there was an increase of 120 tons of single stream. That's a lot of plastic, paper, glass and aluminum diverted from landfills and incinerators. For more information about MIT recycling statistics, contact the Recycling Office at

Here and throughout these webpages you will find resources to help you reduce your own carbon footprint.

The MIT Office of Sustainability (MITOS) is committed to designing out waste from MIT’s campus by working in collaboration with MIT Recycling, departments, labs, centers and student groups across campus. Currently, approximately 40% to 50% of MIT’s material waste leaves campus in a form that is clean enough for feeding the circular economy (i.e., a system of reprocessing paper, plastic, metals and food waste; reuse; repair and other ways that extend the life of products and materials and regenerate natural systems).

However, this means that 50% to 60% of materials collected from campus are not clean enough for reprocessing—with these materials destined to become landfilled or incinerated, contributing to a number of downstream, negative environmental and social impacts. The partnership of MITOS and MIT Recycling allows MIT to manage the waste challenges of today while also designing out waste for tomorrow by researching, testing and scaling up data-driven solutions across campus. Learn more about the MITOS approach at their website.

Online Recycling Course

Have a question about what goes where in the waste streams at MIT? Then take the online course Responsible Waste Disposal Practices. This 10-minute course will test your knowledge while it informs you about where you should dispose of your every day waste. It can be found in the MIT Learning Center Course Catalog.

Restrictions on Recycling

With new restrictions being placed on recycling, we ask people to keep these items out of the Single Stream:

Do not include:

  • Single-use gloves of any kind or color
  • Animal bedding
  • Pipettes or pipette boxes
    (Ask your vendor to take them back, or place them in the trash

Regulated medical waste items that have always gone into a “burn” box will continue to do so.

Here’s how to dispose of PPE

Find out if it’s trash or recyclable

Partners in Sustainability on Campus

Committees and Offices with whom the Recycling Office works closely include:

 Working Green at MIT
 Mass Department of Environmental Protection: Waste & Recycling
 Cambridge Department of Public Works
 Food Waste
 Plastic Film
 Single Stream
 Technocycle/Electronic Waste
 Waste Bin Labels


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Michael Seaberg

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