Students, faculty, and staff in the Harvard Law School community drive the School's sustainability efforts. The involvement of so many stakeholders allows HLS to pursue a diverse set of sustainability projects and initiatives. 

A glance at sustainability achievements at Harvard Law School over the years:

  • 2005: The Green Living Program is established at HLS
  • 2008: HLS is the first School to adopt composting campus-wide
  • 2009: HLS staff and faculty members form the HLS Green Team
  • 2009: HLS adopts the University Temperature Policy; is instrumental in leading to University commitment campus-wide
  • 2012: Certified LEED Gold building, the WCC Student Center opens, adding to the three previous LEED certified buildings on campus  

Green Team

The Law School Green Team is a forum for members of the HLS community interested in taking action to improve campus sustainability.  Members have been meeting monthly over lunch since February 2009. The Green Team takes on projects aimed at expanding knowledge surrounding the environmental impacts of daily decisions about food, energy, and materials.  Additionally, the group seeks to make it easier for members of HLS to make more sustainable decisions about resource consumption. The Green Team is comprised of staff and faculty members with representatives spanning all departments, such as:

  • Faculty Support
  • Dean of Students
  • Dean of Administration
  • IT
  • Harvard Law Review
  • Facilities Management
  • Dean’s Office
  • Clinical Program
  • HLS Library
  • Berkman Center
  • Office of Admissions

The members of the HLS Green Team are:

  • Innovators. We brainstorm, plan and implement campus sustainability projects, like our ongoing building composting project; the first of its kind at any Harvard school.
  • Knowledgeable. We strive to be the most well-informed members of the HLS community about campus sustainability initiative implementation and successes.  We build our knowledge base through: monthly meetings with our group, the HLS Sustainability Coordinator and guests from campus administrative departments; best-practice sharing over our email list; participating in the University-wide Green Team Leaders Network, and educational events, discussions with faculty, movie screenings, and field trips.
  • Communicators. We act as key liaisons to share information and receive feedback about sustainability initiatives and successes within our community, and perform outreach with our peers about sustainability best practices and behavior change.

The Green Team focuses on four key impact areas:

  • Greenhouse Gas Reduction: As partners in achieving Harvard's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goal, the Green Team advises the administration on energy conservation opportunities and shares best-practice conservation and efficiency behaviors with the campus community.
  • Resource Efficiency: The Green Team works on wide-ranging conservation and efficiency projects supporting Harvard's commitment to Sustainability Principles including water conservation, strategic procurement, and the reduction, recycling, re-use and composting of waste.
  • Community Education & Engagement: Through outreach campaigns, film screenings, and direct peer-to-peer outreach, the Green Team seeks to educate and engage the Law School community on environmental issues.
  • Professional Development: Green Team membership and project work is an opportunity for members to be leaders in their offices and throughout the campus community, network with a diverse group of faculty, staff and students and develop professional skills.

Stay in the loop by subscribing to HLS Green Team emails.  We’ll send you information on upcoming events and cool resource both at HLS and University-wide.


Waste Reduction


Composting at HLS occurs in three forms:

  1. Dining Hall (The Hark): All food waste and napkins from food service activities are composted.
  2. Events: Composting is available for set-up at all events.
  3. Buildings: Compost bins are located in every dorm and academic and administrative building.

The state of HLS Compost today: Waste Audits of the HLS campus have continually shown that upwards of 40% of waste found in trash could have been composted. Over the course of the year, composting all organics in dorms could save 7.1 MTCDE, or the equivalent of removing 1.2 cars from the road. 

Learn more

Composting at HLS

Reuse and Recycling

Freecycle Events

Check the HLS calendar for frequent freecycle events throughout the year. 


Terracycle is an innovative waste reduction solution that takes previously hard-to recycle or non-recyclable items and recycles or upcycles them into cool new products. At HLS, Terracycle bins are located on the first floor of the Caspersen Student center under the ramp leading up to the Café, at the ITS helpdesk in the basement of WCC, and in the first Year Legal Writing and Research Program Office in Griswold on the first floor. More Information

Single Stream Recycling

Recycling at HLS is “Single Stream,” which means that ALL recyclable materials are placed into the SAME recycling bin. More information

E-waste recycling

Recycle your spent and unwanted batteries, CDs/DVDs, tapes, floppy disks, cables, cords, cell phones, and other small electronic devices at electronic waste collection sites located conveniently around the HLS campus, including the ITS Help Desks in the WCC basement, the Caspersen Student Center first floor hallway under the ramp leading to the Hark Café, and outside the Facilities Office on Holmes 1. More information

More Reuse options

Energy, Operations, and LEED Projects

Through a variety of initiatives and projects, HLS has folded sustainability directly into their facilities, operations, energy use, maintenance services, and occupant support. Some of these projects and initiatives include:  four LEED certified buildings, lighting occupancy sensors, water filtration systems, and organic landscaping.

Learn more


The Harvard Law School Library, HLS Sustainability, and the HLS Green Living Program have joined forces to create the Read & Ride BikeShare! Check out any of the four bikes in the fleet using your HLS ID card at the Library Circulation Desk. Three of the bikes are on 3-hour loan, and one is 24-hour loan.

Read and Ride

Resources, Environmental Groups, and Academic Programs

Environmental Law Program

The Harvard Law School Environmental Law Program (ELP) features dedicated students, innovative clinical instruction, and renowned professors with real-world expertise and passion for teaching.  Together, they rigorous legal analysis and policy savvy to tackle today’s most pressing environmental challenges.

Environmental Law Society

The Harvard Environmental Law Society (HELS) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization directed and staffed by students at Harvard Law School.

Environmental Law Review

The Harvard Environmental Law Review (HELR) has been published semi-annually, in winter and spring, since 1976. HELR publishes articles on a broad range of environmental affairs, such as land use; air, water, and noise regulation; toxic substances control; radiation control; energy use; workspace pollution; science and technology control; and resource use and regulation. 

Food Law Policy Clinic

The Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) at Harvard Law School is the oldest food law clinical program in the United States. The FLPC was established in 2010 as a division of the Harvard Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation to address growing concerns about the health, environmental, and economic consequences of the laws and policies that structure the current U.S. food system.

Food Law Society

The Food Law Society provides students with hands-on exposure to the numerous issues in law, policy, science and management that confront professionals in the fields of food law and food policy. 

Green Early Interview Program

The Green Early Interview Program was created by students in the Harvard Environmental Law Society in order to encourage firms participating in the on campus Early Interview Program to reduce the environmental impacts of the recruiting process. The Green EIP is co-sponsored by the Office for Career Services and the Harvard Office for Sustainability and coordinated by a student representative.
Email to learn more. 

Harvard Law School Wellness

HLS Wellness, through the Dean of Students Office, is committed to the health and wellness of the Harvard Law School community. HLS Wellness programming provides groundwork for maximizing healthy living and teaches lifelong skills to bring balance to academic, professional, and personal life. Various programs and workshops are offered throughout the year to the HLS community.

Meditation and Mindfulness Resources for Harvard Law Students