Recycling & Waste Reduction

Recycling

One of the first steps in creating a sustainable environment is to RECYCLE. Know what your office, dormitory, institution or community accepts for recycling, how they want it collected (segregated or co-mingled) and how often they remove recycled materials from your area. Communicate the recycling information to co-workers, residents and new community members so they can participate in the program as well.

Here are a few helpful tips for organizing recycling in your area:

  • Communicate what can be recycled by hanging posters or signs
  • Indicate which materials go into which bins with concise labels
  • Have the appropriate number of collection bins for your area
  • Place recycling bins next to trash cans

Visit the MIT Department of Facilities website for specific information on MIT’s recycling program.

Check out the Working Group Recycling (WGR) website for more recycling details and ideas on how to live and work green at MIT and beyond.

Follow MIT's standing in the annual RecycleMania recycling and waste reduction competition. For more information check out the MIT Department of Facilities website or connect directly to the RecycleMania website for more information.

 

Lab Recycling

The EHS Office has worked closely with the MIT Recycling Program, Custodial Services group and various labs on campus to identify a safe and effective means of collecting and recycling clean glassware, plastics, cardboard and other single stream recyclables from the lab. Check out the attached guidance document and FAQ for information on how to recycle unwanted materials from your lab. If you happen to have additional questions or would like to start actively recycling materials in your lab please contact EHS for guidance and information by sending an email to environment@mit.edu.

 

Empty Chemical Bottles - quick guide:

  • Empty chemical bottles must be triple rinsed with approximately 50mL of water to remove the residual vapors and associated odor from the bottle prior to recycling.
  • Collect the first rinse with the associated hazardous waste.
  • Dispose the second & third rinses down the drain.
  • Please DO NOT triple rinse or recycle empty acutely hazardous waste (P-listed) chemical bottles. Please treat these empty containers as hazardous waste.
  • Remove or deface the original chemical labeling on the bottle.
  • Recap the bottle after rinsing.
  • Recycle the empty container by placing it in a puncture proof container; such as a cardboard box or recycling bin.
  • Clearly indicate "Clean Glassware for Recycling" on the taped box. Place the taped box near the lab's trash for Custodial Services to collect.

*Note - please do not rinse and recycle acutely hazardous chemical containers (Sodium Azide, Osmium Tetroxide, Propargyl alcohol, etc); pyrophoric chemical containers; and chemical containers with strong odors (methacrylates, thiols, mercaptans, etc). Please simply place these empty containers in a chemical solid waste bin with the associated waste stream.
 

Waste Reduction

 

Work & Live Green
MIT’s Working Group Recycling (WGR), in collaboration with the Environment, Health & Safety Office, Sustainability Program and Department of Facilities, has developed a lot of great resources on how to be more sustainable in your daily lives at MIT and beyond. Some of the information you may find helpful includes:

  • How to remove yourself from junk mail lists
  • Where to buy recycled content items for the office, the lab or around the house
  • What to do with your extra packing peanuts and shipping materials
  • The art of composting
  • How to Print Smarter – double sided, recycled content, etc.

If you’re looking for additional resources for sustainable living & working, visit the Sustainabilty@MIT website which is home to the Green Ambassador Program and other great information about MIT’s Campus Sustainability activities.

 

Campus Donation
The Department of Facilities has placed Got Books & Planet Aide donation bins at various locations throughout campus for books and clothes. Feel free to donate your extra items at these locations.

 

ReUse@MIT 
Before you recycle it, see if you can reuse it. MIT has a great resource for community members to offer reusable items for sale or to give away. A wide variety of items are reused or sold on this email list ranging from salt shakers to computers to cars and it will often times be picked up at your door. To join the email list contact reuse@mit.edu.

 

MIT Furniture Exchange
Donate your surplus reusable furniture. For more than 30 years the MIT Furniture Exchange (FX) has been providing service to hundreds of students who need home furnishings. We sell items at reasonable prices and all of our profits go to the MIT Women's League Scholarship Fund. In the past 7 years, the FX has donated over $200,000 to this worthwhile fund.

To make arrangements for the transportation and/or donation of your excess reusable furniture contact fx@mit.edu or recycling@mit.edu

 

MIT Equipment Exchange
Buy surplus lab, computer, and office furniture at MIT's Equipment Exchange. The WW15 Equipment Exchange and Storage Warehouse has surplus lab, computer, and office furniture. Preference is given to people wishing to reuse items at the Institute. There is no charge for items that are transferred back on campus. You must arrange for your own transportation and/or moving. Items not claimed for transfer are sold to the general public for reasonable prices.

Stuff Fest
Each spring as students pack up and leave the dorms for the summer, excess clothing and house-wares are donated to Stuff Fest. This event, held at the end of May, can generate over 7,000 pounds of clothing, house-wares, and food! Several charity and volunteer organizations partake in Stuff Fest, including The MIT Women's LeagueMIT’s WGR, the EHS Office and student volunteers from each undergraduate dorm. Professional clothing is used by the Women’s League for their Clothing Service Project, while the remaining items are donated to a local charity. Remaining items that may not be appropriate for these causes are sent to Planet Aid. For more information or to volunteer for Stuff Fest, email be-green@mit.edu.