Harvard made recycling easier in 2009 by adopting single stream recycling across campus—meaning all recyclable materials, including paper, boxes, bottles, cans, and containers, can be mixed together in the same receptacle in. Eliminating any guesswork or confusion, the ease and convenience of single stream recycling helps to increase the amount of recyclables we divert from the waste stream. 

Harvard's Schools and departments also run programs for e-waste and ink and toner cartridges. From piloting recycling at football tailgates, to challenging undergraduate Houses and staff offices through competitions, recycling at Harvard continues to evolve and reach new heights.

For questions related to Harvard recycling, e-waste, freecycling, and surplus services, including Surplus Center availability and donations, please contact Kieran Clyne at kieran_clyne@harvard.edu.


Single stream recycling

What can be recycled in the single stream bins?

Paper Items & Cardboard Glass Jars & Bottles Plastics Metal Cans & Foils
  • White and colored paper
  • Wrapping paper
  • Newspaper
  • Magazines & Catalogs
  • Phone Books and junk mail
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Pizza boxes (if not too greasy)
  • Paperboard (i. e. paper towel rolls, cereal, tissue, and frozen food boxes)
  • Beverage bottles
  • Food jars
  • Wine bottles
  • Plastic items #1-7
  • Stiff plastic containers
  • Shampoo and conditioner bottles
  • Large plastics (i. e. laundry baskets)
  • Empty aerosol cans
  • Aluminum cans
  • Aluminum foil and trays
  • Metal food cans

Tips for successful recycling:

  • Before you toss an item in the trash bin, stop and ask yourself if it's recyclable first

  • Empty and flatten all cardboard items

  • Drain beverages and food items from containers

  • Place recycling in designated bins loose or in an old paper bag

  • Plastic recycling numbers can be located on the bottom of the plastic items

What can’t be recycled:

Trash: Plastic bags, films and wrappers, Styrofoam, used napkins, tissues, paper towels, and plastic utensils.

Compost: Where available, compost all food, tea bags, napkins, paper towels, and compostable products. Learn more

Still have questions? Check the Recycle Smart Recyclopedia. Search for your item to determine whether it can be recyled or not.

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