Reducing, reusing, repurposing, and recycling at Harvard generates significant environmental and economic benefits. Harvard began measuring its rate of recycling in 1989, which has since increased from 5% to more than 50%! Continuing to improve this diversion rate is necessary for the Harvard community to be an effective steward of our environment and the materials that come in and out of that environment. These ongoing efforts are multi-dimensional and include active participation from the building management community, students and student organizations, procurement and purchasing staff, occupant engagement groups, the Office for Sustainability (OFS), Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) and university leadership.
As the primary campus waste hauler, Recycling & Waste Services is responsible for sustainable materials management across Harvard’s Cambridge, Allston, and Longwood campuses. We manage municipal solid waste, single stream recycling, and food waste streams, both through our own drivers and through contracted vendors. Services we coordinate also include:
- mattress recycling
- textile recycling
- e-waste and universal waste recycling
- furniture and appliance pickup
To increase waste prevention and diversion, we also conduct waste audits, reuse events, and repair events. For more information on those, see Events and Education.
To receive periodic updates on our campus waste world, subscribe to the Harvard Recycling newsletter here.
The Zero Waste Alliance© defines Zero Waste as a reduction of 90% or more of waste diverted away from landfills or incinerators from a benchmark year.
Furniture, supplies, equipment and a wide-variety of other items are available for free to anyone on a first-come, first-served basis.