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Langdell Library

Answer your recycling and e-waste recycling questions here!  Contact the HLS Program at sustainability@law.harvard.edu with any further questions or suggestions.


Recycling at the Law School is “Single Stream,” which means that ALL recyclable materials are placed into the SAME recycling bin.

What can be recycled? Paper, cardboard, books, magazines, milk/juice cartons, glass bottles, metal cans, and plastics #1-7.  Do NOT recycle foam, plastic bags, plastic wrappers, or plastic films.  Don’t be fooled: foam can be imprinted with a recycling symbol and the number 5 or 6, but we cannot recycle foam of any kind at our local recycling plant.  Please see the chart below for the full list of recyclable and non-recyclable items.  

In order to prevent contamination, it is important to drain liquids from containers (remove the cap to allow extra liquid to evaporate) and discard food before recycling.  Please note that pizza boxes are now recyclable; simply empty them of food, napkins, etc, and stack them next to your nearest recycling bin.  Plastic "to-go" containers from the Hark are recyclable, as are paper cups and plates.  

 If you’d like help in developing signs for a particular event you’re planning, contact the HLS Sustainability Program Manager at sustainability@law.harvard.edu.

Are you a Cambridge, Somerville, or Boston resident? Each city has different recycling guidelines, explore them here: Cambridge, Somerville, Boston.

Electronic Waste Recycling

Recycle your spent and unwanted batteries, CDs/DVDs, tapes, floppy disks, cables, cords, cell phones, and other small electronic devices at electronic waste collection sites located conveniently around the Law School campus, including the ITS Help Desks in the WCC basement, the Caspersen Student Center 1st floor hallway under the ramp leading to the Hark Cafe and outside the Facilities Office on Holmes 1.  For all locations, see the University-wide map of e-waste collection points.

CFLs - should also be recycled at these locations, preferably sealed in bubble-wrap.
Lithium and Lithium-Ion batteries - prior to drop off, the battery terminals should be wrapped in tape, to reduce the possibility of short circuits and fires during transport.
Computers, monitors, laptops, printer cartridges (both toner and inkjets), other large electronic equipment, and data for secure destruction - can be brought to the ITS Help Desks in the WCC basement for recycling.  Visit the ITS web site to learn about HLS secure data destruction policies.

Contact the HLS Sustainability Program Manager at sustainability@law.harvard.edu with questions about e-waste recycling.



HLS is Terracycling! Terracycle is an innovative waste reduction solution that takes previously hard-to recycle or non-recyclable items and recycles or upcycles them into cool new products. At HLS, terracycle bins are located on the 1st floor of the Caspersen Student center under the ramp leading up to the cafe, at the ITS helpdesk in the basement of WCC and in the 1st Year Legal Writing and Research Program Office in Griswold 1st floor. 

We are currently collecting the following waste: 

  • Oral care: Any brand toothpaste tubes, toothpaste caps, tooth brushes, floss containers.
  • Personal care and beauty packaging: Any brand lipstick cases, mascara tubes, eye shadow cases, shampoo bottles, conditioner bottles, bronzer cases, foundation packaging, body wash containers, soap tubes, soap dispensers, lotion dispensers, shaving foam tubes (no cans), powder cases, lotion bottles, chap stick tubes, lotion tubes, face soap dispensers, face soap tubes, face lotion bottles, face lotion jars, eyeliner cases, eyeliner pencils, eyeshadow tubes, concealer tubes, concealer sticks, lip liner pencils, hand lotion tubes, hair gel tubes, hair paste jars.
  • Energy bar wrappers: Any brand foil lined energy bar wrappers, foil lined granola bar wrappers, foil lined meal replacement bar wrappers, foil lined protein bar wrappers, foil lined diet bar wrappers. Clif SHOT wrappers, Clif Twisted Fruit Wrappers, Clif Roks Wrappers, Clif Bloks Wrappers, Clif Gels Wrappers.
  • Elmer’s Glue products: Elmer's glue sticks, Elmer's glue bottles, and Elmer's glue tops.
  • Tape products: Any brand plastic tape dispensers, plastic tape cores.
  • Cheese packaging: Any brand string cheeses packages, individual singles wrappers, singles packages, shredded cheeses packages, grated cheese containers, creamed cheese packaging, cottage cheese tubs, all cheese wrappers.
  • Drink pouches: Any Brand aluminum drink pouches, plastic drink pouches.
  • Bear Naked packaging: Bear Naked granola bags, Bear Naked trail mix bags, Bear Naked Granola cookie boxes.
  • Cookie Packaging: Any brand Cookie Wrappers, Cookie Bags, Individual Cookie Bags, Inner Plastic Trays.
  • Chip Bags: Any brand chip bags, tortilla chip bags, pretzel bags, pita chip bags, bagel chip bags, soy crisp bags, salty snack bags.
  • Writing Instruments: Any brand pens, pen caps, mechanical pencils, markers, marker caps, highlighters, highlighter caps, permanent markers, permanent markers caps.
  • (NEW!) Cleaner packaging: pumps, triggers, pouches, and flexible cleaner product packaging.

Contact sustainability@law.harvard.edu with questions or to get a Terracycle bin for your office! 


Reuse and Reduce

Recycling is an important part of sustainability, but reducing and reusing are event better! Finding what you need without buying it new helps save valuable resources, and is usually less expensive.  There are a number of opportunities for both passing on unneeded items and "gently used" items at HLS and at Harvard.

Contact Facilities Management  

A first step for staff, faculty, and student organizations looking to either get rid of or acquire used furniture is to contact Facilities Management at facmgmt@law.harvard.edu or 517-495-5521.  Facilities may have just what you need already.

HLS Freecycle listserv

One person’s trash is another's treasure.  Does your office have surplus supplies it no longer needs, but which would be useful to another office? Do you have books, furniture, and other items from home you’d like to donate?  Join the HLS Freecycling e-mail list; to subscribe send a PLAIN TEXT e-mail to majordomo@lists.law.harvard.edu containing the text subscribe hlsfreecycle.

 It is helpful to use the following general guidelines when posting to the list.  Use the following subject line keys: OFFER, WANTED, CLAIMED, RECEIVED.  Replies regarding an item should only be sent to the original poster.  As a courtesy, send a brief e-mail to the list when an item is no longer available.  Please also note that HLS-purchased items should be redistributed for HLS office/organizational use whenever possible.  The HLS Freecycle listserv is a Green Team initiative; to learn more, visit the Green Team page.

Harvard Sells

To swap items around Harvard, check out Harvard Sells, where you can load photos of items for sale or into facebook albums and browse items offered. 

Harvard Classifieds/Barter/Wanted/Free

The Harvard classifieds are a great way for staff to swap or re-use home or office goods through the harvie staff intranet. Visit the Harvie Classifieds to post or browse items (Harvard staff login required). 


HLS-List is an online classifieds portal for HLS students run by the Dean of Students Office. Students may create an account and then post items for sale/giveaway/wanted. 


Crimsonlist is another online classifieds portal reaching Harvard students across all University Schools. Browse immediately; create an account to contact sellers or list items for sale. 

Harvard Recycling and Surplus Center

From Harvard Recycling...

Surplus Furniture and other items are available at Harvard's Recycling and Surplus Center in Allston (175 North Harvard Street) every Thursday from 11am-2pm! If donating furniture, please instruct your movers to contact us 24 hours before delivery (e-mail rob_gogan@harvard.edu) so that we can receive and display everything safely. We can take material only from Harvard buildings which use our waste and recycling services, and we can never receive any trash or hazardous waste.

When donating file cabinets and desks, please unlock, open up and clean out all drawers. We cannot receive any furniture with unknown contents.

Please keep in mind that parking space limitations force us to be STRICT ABOUT PARKING RULES. Please respect our neighbors' need to maintain safe traffic flow around the Recycling and Surplus Center . When here for Thursday's Surplus Distribution, follow the parking monitor's direction and park only in designated areas. You may also park in the free spaces in the streets adjacent to the property. 

Everything is free, first-come, first-served and open to everyone.

Opting out of Mailings

Staff and faculty, you can choose not to receive a paper copy of the Harvard Magazine and Harvard Resource.  Retirees may also opt-out of the Harvard Gazette.  To do so, log-in to PeopleSoft > Self Service > Harvard Publications.


Events, such as conferences, luncheons, and even office meetings can generate large quantities of waste if not properly managed.  If you are planning an event, generate less waste by using reusable dish ware and utensils and serving water from pitchers instead of bottles.  Providing adequate recycling bins and accompanying signs helps guests properly manage their own waste.  For more information, check out these event waste reducing tips from the Harvard Green Office Resource, as well as "Zero Waste" event tips from the Office for Sustainability. 

If you'd like to learn more about HLS' waste reduction efforts at the 2009 Commencement luncheon for over 3,000 people, check out a story about the "Recycling Tent" on the Office for Sustainability web page; it helped the event achieve a 65% recycling rate!

Help Us Improve

Do you see recycling bins with outdated signs such as "Cans and Bottles" or "Paper Only"?  Do you work or live in an area without proper recycling bins?  Other suggestions for improving our recycling practices? Contact the the HLS Sustainability Coordinator at sustainability@lists.law.harvard.edu

More Information

  • If you have questions about HLS recycling and waste reduction, or if you would like suggestions for reducing waste and ensuring proper recycling in your office or at events you're planning, contact the HLS Sustainability Coordinator at sustainability@law.harvard.edu.
  • If you have questions about  Harvard's recycling and waste removal practices, find answers on the Harvard FMO recycling website.  If you can't find what you're looking for, contact Rob Gogan, Supervisor of FMO Recycling and Solid Waste Removal at 617-495-3042 or rob_gogan@harvard.edu.
  • Read the Harvard Recycling Newsletter!  Get the latest on Harvard's trash and recycling stats and waste reduction innovations.  You can also receive updates on items available through the Surplus Distribution, and of course, hear reports of urban wildlife from the Campus Nature Watch.
  • Watch the animated film The Story of Stuff online for an eye-opening take on modern waste.  "From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It'll teach you something, it'll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever." 
Last modified: September 16, 2014

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