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Join the REP Waste Campaign: Get Recycling Savvy and Play Our Sorting Game

Resource Efficiency Program (REP)

The REP Waste Campaign runs from: October 16-29, 2023.

Sorting like a pro is a journey—join the adventure with us!

Ready to boost your recycling IQ, or are you feeling like a waste whiz already? Take our quiz on those pesky common contaminants and show our waste team what Harvard students know!

*For best visibility on mobile, turn your phone horizontally.

Click to see the answer key here!

For more information on why items are categorized this way: RecycleSmart MA has amazing FAQ’s and Resources.

Waste Regulations

Kris Snibbe/Harvard News Office

Ever wondered if we’re being eco-outlaws by accident? Cambridge and Massachusetts have regulations about what belongs in the recycling bin, and what is banned from the trash.

No worries, we all make mistakes and we’re on this journey together to stay on the green side of the law!

The City of Cambridge:

“Recycling is mandatory in Cambridge; items on the curbside recycling list are banned from disposal as trash in Massachusetts.”

Massachusetts Waste Ban Items:

  • Recyclable Paper – ALL paper, cardboard, and paperboard products (does NOT include tissues, paper towels, plates, or cups)
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Metal beverage and food containers
  • Plastic bottles, jars, jugs, and tubs
  • Textiles – clothing, footwear, linens
  • Food waste from institutions that generate more than ½ ton per week
  • Leaves and yard waste
  • Scrap metal – such as appliances
  • Mattresses
  • CRTs – cathode ray tubes
  • Gypsum wallboard
  • Lead Acid batteries
  • Whole tires
  • Wood waste
  • Asphalt pavement, Brick, Concrete

Waste Management Hierarchy

Let’s work together to prevent waste in the first place!

Graphic that prioritizes waste hierarchy: Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Rot, Recycle.
When making decisions about managing our waste, prioritize Rethinking and Reducing waste, recycling and composting is a last resort. Source:

Waste Signage Scavenger Hunt

Calling all waste signage sleuths! Use your keen eye by participating in our Waste Signage Scavenger Hunt. Help us locate old, outdated signs in need of a modern makeover!


All are welcome to participate; simply snap a picture and upload it to our quick google form. Undergraduates who submit a form will earn points towards the Green Cup Competition for their House or Dorm!

Yellow icon of a magnifying glass and person putting trash in a bin.



At Harvard, we aim to sustainably manage all waste streams—including plastics, recyclables, and organics, as well as construction, demolition, and hazardous waste—while prioritizing waste prevention and reduction.

Learn More
Compost sign with symbols and text for food, compostable containers, and other items.

Sustainability at Harvard

Explore Upcoming Events



9:30 am-11:30 am GMT+0000

Landscape Sketching

Landscapes are an appealing subject for drawings, but it can be difficult to know where to start. In this program we will learn how to select a landscape, create a sense of depth and volume, and use a variety of marks to capture a dynamic variety of textures.



9:30 am-11:30 pm GMT+0000

Open to the Public

Drawing Plants and Flowers in Colored Pencil

Explore the beauty and variety of plants using colored pencils. This course will focus on a diverse range of techniques for using colored pencils to capture flowers, leaves, fruits, and vegetables, from quick monochrome sketching to richly layered, full-color images.



12:00 pm-1:00 pm GMT+0000

Open to the Public

Rising Tides: Integrating Situated Visualization, Augmented Reality, and Public-Participation Technology to Create an Accessible Platform for Localized Climate Change Visualization and Discourse

climate change

Narges Mahyar is an assistant professor at the Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst, whose research is situated at the intersection of human-computer interaction, information visualization, social computing, applied machine learning, human-centered artificial intelligence, and design. She applies a community-centered design approach to build novel social computing and visualization tools to empower the general public to engage in real-world sociotechnical issues, such as urban planning and climate change, by enabling them to share their ideas and comments for shaping future policies.

In this lecture, Mahyar will speak about her project to discover innovative techniques to integrate situated visualization, augmented reality, and civic technology to design and build a mobile platform that simulates the localized impact of climate change, thereby providing Boston residents with an immersive experience of climate change visualizations and empowering them to contribute comments and ideas on climate change issues. The platform will benefit the movement towards more equitable resilience by creating new opportunities for the public, especially the underserved communities, to raise their voices and join the discourse.

Her recognition in the field has been repeatedly confirmed through many accolades for her research, including seven best or honorable mention paper awards from top conferences in her field. She holds a PhD in computer science from the University of Victoria. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the Computer Science department at the University of British Columbia from 2014 to 2016 and in the Design Lab at the UC San Diego from 2016 to 2018.



9:30 am-11:30 am GMT+0000

Open to the Public

Inspired by Nature: Drawing from Your Imagination

Looking closely at nature can inspire a broad range of imaginative artwork, from abstraction and decorative work to illustration and cartooning. In this workshop, we will use a variety of examples from nature as inspiration, and then explore techniques for unleashing our creativity through the drawing process.

Class size will be limited to twelve, allowing ample time for individual feedback. All skill levels are welcome.

Taught by artist and illustrator, Erica Beade.



6:30 pm-8:30 pm GMT+0000

Open to the Public

The Fascinating Feathers of the Sandgrouse

Arnold Arboretum

The birds that populate the Arnold Arboretum rarely have to go far to find water. In the deserts of Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa, it’s a different story, and the sandgrouse that lives in these arid environments has developed a fascinating adaptation to stay hydrated: these birds have a unique ability to absorb and hold water inside of their feathers. But how do their feathers hold water so efficiently? Dr. Lorna Gibson, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT, has found the answer. Join Dr. Gibson for a lecture to learn about these fascinating birds and the science behind them.



12:30 pm-2:00 pm GMT+0000

Open to the Public

Nature Journaling: A Creative Exploration of the Winter Landscape

Arnold Arboretum

Bring your enthusiasm for the natural world and leave with a creative nature journal, inspired by the trees of the Arnold Arboretum. Nature journaling is all about expressing your curiosity and wonder through sketching, calligraphy, writing, or other forms of art-making. Tap into your creativity and let yourself be surprised by the diversity of forms on display in the winter landscape.



2:00 pm-4:00 pm GMT+0000

Open to the Public

Foraging Walk: Tea Time at the Arboretum


Join us for a winter foraging walk to learn what wild plants can be foraged and brewed into tea. Visit some of the Arboretum’s tastiest winter plants, from sweet birch and sweet fern to sassafras and spicebush. You may even get to taste some of the teas yourself!