In 2009, Harvard made recycling easier 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. 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.

The Campus Services Recycling & Waste group also sends out a bi-monthly Harvard Recycling Update email to the community. Learn more

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
  • Shredded paper
  • Paper plates and bowls
  • Paper clamshells
  • Wrapping paper
  • Newspaper
  • Magazines & Catalogs
  • Phone Books and junk mail
  • Coffee cups
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Pizza boxes
  • 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
  • Milk cartons
  • Juice boxes
  • Large plastics (i. e. laundry baskets)
  • Empty aerosol cans
  • Aluminum cans
  • Aluminum foil and trays
  • Metal food cans
  • Spiral cans (i.e. potato chip and nut 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

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