Waste Diversion

Waste Diversion

Waste Diversion

See below for a general overview of what is collected in our waste diversion streams, and where those items end up.


Compost (Food Waste)

Accepted in the compost stream:

  • Food waste, including meat and dairy
  • Paper towels, napkins, teabags, and other fiber-based compostables
  • BPI-certified compostable service-ware, bags, etc.
  • #7 PLA drink cups

Where it goes: immediately after leaving campus, food waste is processed at a local organics processing facility: CORe in Charlestown. There it’s made into a bioslurry, and transported to Greater Lawrence Sanitary District’s wastewater treatment plant to aid in anaerobic digestion. This contributes to more efficient renewable energy production (and produces biosolids as a byproduct).


Single-Stream Recycling

Accepted in single-stream recycling:

  • Cardboard, paper, and magazines
  • Clean and emptied glass bottles and jars
  • Clean and emptied plastic bottles, jars, jugs and tubs
  • Clean and emptied food and beverage cans

NOT accepted in single-stream recycling:

  • Plastic bags and other film
  • Clothes or linen
  • Tanglers – cords, wires, holiday lights
  • Batteries
  • Scrap metal

Where it goes: Immediately after leaving campus, items in single-stream recycling are processed at a local Materials Recovery Facility. Click here to see how items are processed! From there, items are baled, sold, and turned into new products*:

  • Aluminum cans: new aluminum cans
  • Cans and tins: new tin cans and other metal products
  • Aluminum foil: material used in steel manufacturing
  • Paper: 67% shipped to domestic paper mills for new boxes; 33% exported, mostly to India and Vietnam
  • Glass: most is sent for roadwork and construction
  • HDPE plastic: shipped domestically to a plastic processor for variety of new products (car parts, buckets, etc.)
  • PET plastic: shipped domestically to make new water bottles, carpeting, and fleece
  • Other plastics: shipped domestically, used in making recycled paint cans

*This information can change quickly as recycling markets and supplies are frequently in flux. This page will be updated as needed with any updates. Last updated 10/24/22.


Special Items Recycling

  • Textiles are often distributed for local reuse at our Recycling & Surplus Center. Any unwanted items are then sent to a regional textile recycler. From there, depending on the quality, items are either sent for domestic reuse, sent to international markets, or processed for raw materials.
  • Mattresses are offered for local reuse at our Surplus Center. We also partner with the United Teen Equality Center to recycle mattresses. Local youth employed by UTEC deconstruct mattresses to recycle materials.
  • Electronic waste and universal waste are processed by an R2-certified e-waste recycler in southeastern MA.
  • Plastic film (LDPE) is baled at our Recycling & Surplus Center and brought to a local processing facility. It is typically made into plastic bags.
  • Ink cartridges are sent to a domestic cartridge recycler, where they are either made into new cartridges or sent back to the original manufacturer.
  • Wood scraps are sent to a local construction materials recycler, where they are either made into new products or renewable energy.

If you need to recycle any of the above items, please reach out to the department contacts listed above.

    Department Contacts

    Kieran Clyne
    Associate Manager, Recycling Services
    Dailey Brannin
    Recycling Services Supervisor