Recycling at CSAIL

Single Stream Recycling

Facilities has launched a Single Stream Recycling Program on campus. In single stream, the collection and processing systems are designed to handle a mixture of paper, plastics and cans together. Any blue recycling bin on campus is the appropriate place for your clean glass, metal, plastic, and paper commingles - almost everything but plastic bags, batteries, and electronic waste as described below. _Catering trays and their plastic covers are recyclable and can be put into the Single Stream Recycling bins instead of filling up the trash cans._ (Please wipe out/wipe off food as much as possible from the trays or containers to avoid attracting vermin.) Staples, paperclips, and small amounts of metal do not have to be removed from your paper. Cardboard boxes should be flattened before putting them in or next to the recycling bins.

There should be at least one large Single Stream recycling bin in or near every CSAIL kitchen and near every CSAIL printer. Most conference rooms and all seminar rooms also have Single Stream recycling bins. Many individuals in CSAIL have deskside Single Stream recycling bins. (If you would like to have a deskside recycling bin at your own space, you can get one for FREE from MIT Facilities by filling out the on-line form at (they’ll also get you a deskside trash bin if you want one).)

Styrofoam and Packing Peanuts

Unfortunately, Styrofoam (expanded polystyrene foam or packaging) is not recyclable on campus, nor (so far as we can tell) anywhere within Massachusetts.

Styrofoam products are not recyclable, so please ask vendors to avoid using it. You can donate reused packing peanuts in clean and usable condition to Mail Services for reuse in their wrapping service program. Send the peanuts to Mail Services in sealed bags through interdepartmental mail, place sealed bags on top of campus mail boxes, addressed to: Packing Peanuts Reuse Program, WW15.

Plastic Bags

Plastic Bags are recycled in a separate recycling stream from other plastics on campus. Please do not put them the commingles recycling bins! Put plastic bags, bubble wrap, journal wrap, air pockets, and plastic wrap in an envelope (no larger than 10” x 13”, please) addressed to “Recycling, NW62” and place it in an Interdepartmental Mailbox.

You can also take your plastic bags down to the Plastic Bag Recycling Bin outside 32-124, or put them in any of the Plastic Bag Recycling boxes at 32-D450, 32-D408, 32-307a, 32-331, and outside 32-399.


As of October 2009, MIT will accept for recycling all types of batteries, including alkaline batteries. Batteries that must be recycled include: rechargeable batteries such as nickel cadmium, nickel metal hydride, lithium ion (button batteries used in watches and hearing aids), laptop batteries and lead acid batteries.

Battery terminals should be taped as a fire prevention measure during collection and transportation.

Battery disposal bins are located in TIG (32-270), in RVSN (32-331), on the first floor of Stata (outside 32-124), and farther away places like every DMC on campus and all residence halls. You may also take batteries to the Stratton Student Center, 1st floor; Stata Center, 1st floor; Facilities, NE49-2100; Facilities Stockroom, E19-107; VWR Stockroom, 56-068; and the EHS Office, N52-496.

TechnoCycle or eWaste

TechnoCycle : If you have small electronics (keyboards, speakers, cables, disks-floppy or hard, printer cartridges, etc) that previous inhabitants of your office left for you that you don’t want and that you think no one on or will want, you can recycling those items by putting them in the TechnoCycle bin outside TIG’s neighborhood (32-270) or in the TechnoCycle bin outside 32-33x or in the TechnoCycle bin on the Student Street (outside 32-124).

eWaste : Facilities no longer charges to remove electronic waste that weighs less than 50 lbs. To arrange for a pick up, fill out the Recycling & Trash form on the SAPweb Building Services page. Please allow 5 to 7 days for the movers to come and take the equipment. Examples of eWaste include copiers, CRTs, CPUs, DVD players, Fax machines, Laptops, Microwaves, Stereos, Televisions, and VCRs.

Note: Before recycling electronic material, make sure that you deactivate the Property Office sticker and erase the hard drive to remove sensitive data. Contact the Property Office at 617-258-8475 and IS&T at 617-253-1101 for more information.

Food Leftovers

And finally, if you have leftover food that you don’t think anyone on the mailing list will eat, you can find composting bins on the Student Street (multiple bins at 32-1st floor by the Cafe, and also some outside 32-124), as well as in the basement (32-G side of the loading dock).

Note: Do not include plastic dinnerware or styrofoam.

Other Stuff

Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)

If you can safely package your compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), you can send them via Interdepartmental Mail to Jarrod Jones (MIT’s Recycle/Solid Waste Supervisor) in NW62. (I like to reuse the box that the new CFL comes in as it’s already got all the correct rigid inserts for keeping the CFL in one piece so as to not get smashed & leak mercury everywhere.)

If you don’t have an appropriate box for your CFL, you should contact CSAIL’s Environment, Health and Safty (EHS) representative and request your CFL(s) be picked up for proper disposal. You can do this by emails with your request.