Waste Disposal

It is important for YOU to learn how to dispose of your items properly so that everyone else's efforts don't go to waste. If MIT Facilities finds too much contamination (improper items) in a recycling or food waste bin, they have to send the entire bin to the landfill. Recycling is a team effort; every single person's actions count.

Sidney Pacific has three Environmental Chairs to help you dispose of your unwanted items in the manner that's healthiest for us and our planet. There are in general four places you can bring your items:

  • Donation programs for reusable items
    • Epilepsy Foundation bins for clothing
    • SP-More program over the summer
  • Recycling bins - General, Electronics, and Thin Plastics
    • Standard mixed-use recycling bins
    • Plastic bags recycling
    • Electronics and battery recycling
  • Food waste bins (different from compost!)
  • Trash cans

We describe each of these in greater detail below.

In addition, you can find a chart describing waste disposal practices on the back of your apartment door. If in doubt, MIT Facilities maintains a detailed and up-to-date list (see here) of acceptable items on their webpage.

Please also feel free to email the current environment chairs at sp-environment-chair if you have any questions after reading this website.

Reuse Programs at MIT

  • Epilepsy Foundation Donation Bins

    • Located behind SidPac
    • Accept clothing, accessories, and shoes
    • Items must be clean and in good condition
    • For a full list of accepted items, see the "Clothing" section at the top of this page
    • To understand where your donations are going, see here
  • SP More

    • Run from late May until August
    • Accepts items that are clean and in working condition from residents
    • In August, SP-More rooms are opened to residents to take items
    • UNACCEPTABLE ITEMS: food, fabric items, dirty or broken items

Food Waste Bins

MIT's food waste disposal program is NOT a compost program. You can put food scraps and plant material into the bins. You can NOT put non-food items in the bins, even if they are labeled as "compostable." This is because the Boston region lacks the facilities for processing compostable food containers and silverware.


There are three types of recycling at MIT. We describe them generally here and in further detail below.

  • Standard recycling bins

    • Mixed-use: accept paper; cardboard; plastics #1, #2, and #5; glass; and metal cans, aluminum foil
    • Dirty or oily food containers are not accepted
    • No plastic bags, wrap, etc (see Plastic bags recycling)
    • Items must be larger than 2" x 2"
  • Plastic bags recycling

    • Normal recycling bins cannot accept items like Ziploc bags, plastic wrap, and plastic grocery bags
    • These must go into separate bins, which are located near each floor's common room
  • Electronics and battery recycling

    • Electronics can't go into normal recycling or trash. They are usually classified as hazardous wastes.
    • MIT will take care of their disposal for you.
    • You can find a "Technocycle" box for recycling electronics in the SidPac Lobby

Common things we see put in recycling bins that actually aren't recyclable:

  • Pots and pans
  • Black plastics
  • Oily pizza boxes
  • Cans and containers that still have food in them (these need to be emptied and cleaned before being placed in recycling)

For a detailed and up-to-date description of acceptable recycling items: https://web.mit.edu/facilities/environmental/reuse.html

You can also take a training on ATLAS called "Responsible Waste Disposal Practices" https://atlas.mit.edu/atlas/Main.action?tab=home&sub=group_training

To understand how MIT's current provider Casella works, please see these videos: