New Commingled Recycling Program Will Be Rolled Out by End of Spring

Soon, recycling at the Institute could have a one-bin solution.

In an effort to increase recycling participation, the Department of Facilities has adopted a new commingled recycling program that does away with the need to sort between bottles and paper. Students and faculty will simply drop their recyclables into all-purpose recycling bins.

Commingled or “single stream” recycling began in Building 12, where the special recycling bins were deployed in August. The bins have since spread to most of the buildings in the Main Group, and will soon serve the entire campus.

“We plan to have Single Stream fully operational in all MIT locations, including student dormitories, by April,” said Jarrod Jones, Recycling and Solid Waste Management Supervisor.

At a talk about single stream recycling on Tuesday, Jones explained the benefits of recycling. According to Jones, recycling improves sustainability on campus while saving MIT money; It costs about $80 to dispose of one ton of trash, Jones said, but only $35 to dispose of one ton of recyclables.

Each all-purpose bin allows for the disposal of multiple recyclables including newspapers, cardboard, plastic bottles, and metal cans. Jones said that so far, the pilot program was going “very well.”

Attendees were given cardboard box cutters as well as recycling handouts listing the dos-and-don’ts of recycling. After his talk, a short video detailing the inner-workings of Simple Stream was shown. Single Stream is based off of the Zero Sort system developed by Casella Waste Company. Casella collects and sorts mixed recyclables using a combination of optical sensors, magnets, and robotics.

Jones also promoted MIT’s free eWaste service, in which MIT affiliates can schedule Ground Services to pick up large recyclables including refrigerators, computer monitors, and other electronic equipment. As long as the load does not exceed fifty pounds, MIT Facilities will remove it within a week’s time.

In addition to eWaste, MIT Facilities offers another program called Technocycle that promotes the recycling of high-tech waste including cell phones, compact discs, and inkjet cartridges. Technocycle receptacles are located in Distributed Mail Centers around the MIT campus.

To learn more about Single Stream and recycling, visit the MIT Recycling site at: