In today’s economic climate we have to take advantage of free stuff. There is no embarrassment in swiping mini shampoos from hotels and collecting free perfume samples that are tossed at us at department stores. But, what is embarrassing is the sight of our random collection of sample-sized toiletries collecting dust in our bathroom cabinets.

Luckily for us Harvardians, we have the annual Valentine’s Day Cosmetic Drive, sponsored by Harvard Recycling, to rid ourselves of bathroom and toiletry bag clutter. We can reduce our waste (and mess) while helping those in need at the YWCA Cambridge Family Shelter; a true win-win situation. The 2010 cosmetic drive was a big success, with students and staff donating roughly 450 pounds of toiletries and cosmetics.

And notably, HBS Operations and the HBS Women’s Student Association (WSA) went the extra mile. WSA donated over 150 goodie bags from their annual Dynamic Women in Business Conference with the help of HBS Operations and the HBS Green Living Program. The bags were filled with top of the line lotions, lip balm, body wash, and the like. WSA club members donated extra goodie bags that were left over from the conference and attendees were also given the opportunity to donate items from their bags during the conference.

Thanks to Harvard Recycling, Harvard community members that donated, and staff that coordinated the drive, we have helped make several Cambridge women’s Valentine’s Day just a little sweeter.