How to Recycle

Medford Campus

Click below for printable instructional guides with info on how to properly recycle at the Boston campus.

  • To learn about recycling in a particular location or recycling a particular material/item, please click on the list below.

  • Recycling bins for cardboard & paper as well as for bottles & cans are located throughout all of the academic buildings at Tufts. Please make sure to put the correct items in the correct container.
    Sorting the recyclables is not the responsibility of the custodians; that is up to you! Bins are emptied once per week or when full.
    UGL provides formal recycling training sessions for its employees. However, a situation could arise in which a custodian has not been sufficiently educated or sensitized about recycling. If you have noticed that the custodian in your building has been throwing recycling away, please collect specific information and call X73810.
    If you decide to ask a custodian about whether (s)he has been disposing of recyclables in the trash, please be courteous and friendly. UGL custodians do a tremendous job of keeping our campus beautiful and they deserve our respect!
  • Tufts Dining Services recycles, cans, cardboard, glass, paper and plastic in their kitchens. Dewick-MacPhie and Carmichael Dining Halls also compost food scraps and leftovers.
    All of the campus eateries have receptacles for recycling bottles & cans and cardboard & paper. Please use them!
    Please note: paper plates, napkins & tissues, and pizza boxes cannot be recycled! Please compost napkins and tissues where possible and dispose of your paper plates and pizza boxes as trash.
  • For information on recycling in your residence, please click on the appropriate link:

  • Paper

    Small bins are delivered to halls each Fall. Students must bring dorm recycling to the hallway bins. If you have not received a recycling bin for your room, please email us.

    Glass, Metal & Plastic

    The recycling bins for glass, metal and plastic are placed in the halls of your building and are clearly marked. Many students put bottles and cans in with their paper bin and sort each material into the appropriate hall bins. If you need a small bin for your room, call X7-3810 or email us.
    Please do not contaminate the recycling bins with trash!
    For information on battery recycling, click here.
  • In these buildings you can recycle bottles & cans, as well as paper & cardboard. For information on battery recycling, click here.
    Each suite should have a bin for bottles & cans, and another for paper & cardboard. If you are missing a recycling bin or have not received small recycling bins for individual rooms, please call our hotline at x7-3810 or email us at
    Your bins will be emptied if your suite is cleaned by Tufts custodians. If you are in a COOP apartment, which is cleaned independently, put your bins in the hallway for the custodians to empty. You must take them back in as soon as they are serviced.
    Please don't contaminate the recycling bins with trash!
  • Some of the fraternities and sororities on campus already have recycling programs in place. Please look at our Green Recycling page for more information. If you are interested in setting up a recycling program for your fraternity or sorority, please email us.
  • Medford and Somerville both have curbside recycling programs that are now single-stream, which means that bottles, cans and paper can all be placed in the same recycling bin for pick-up. Your house or apartment can easily become involved with these programs. Check out our pages on recycling off-campus in Somerville and Medford, which include information on what is recyclable in each city's recycling program, or visit the websites of the cities of Medford or Somerville for more detailed information. Tufts ECO's useful map for off-campus students contains a list of trash collection routes as well as energy efficiency tips.
    If you would like to compost, please visit one of our two composting bins on campus, located at the rear of Miller Hall and the rear Tisch Library loading dock.  Click here for more information.
    Recycling Information:
    Medford Recycling Brochure - 2011
    Somerville Recycling Brochure - 2011
  • The Facilities Department has a variety of basic recycling bins to fit most office spaces. At this time, we do not provide trash bins. The only exception to this rule is when we situate a three-bin recycling station which includes a trash receptacle.
    Built-in or specialized bins are not provided free of charge. Specialized bins can be added to renovation projects. If you are interested, please speak to the architect or project manager.
    Available bins for the deskside
    Tufts Recycles! recommends using the taller bin at your deskside because ninety percent of office waste is paper. If your desk area is short on space, consider downsizing your trash bin.
    We recommend a waste station for high traffic areas consisting of three bins--one for paper, one for mixed containers and one for trash. We also recommend having one “container” bin for kitchenettes and one “paper” bin near photo copiers and mail rooms.

    To request a bin, please hover over the "Requests" tab on the main menu and select "Request a bin", or click here.

  • We can send you wall signs or adhesive labels via interoffice mail or physically drop them off at your office at no cost. If you would like signs or labels, please fill out our label request form, or click on "Request Labels" under the "Requests and Forms" box in the header.
    You may also print the labels at your own convenience using the links below.
                              COLOR:     Paper |   Trash |   Glass, Metal & Plastic
    BLACK AND WHITE:     Paper |   Trash |   Glass, Metal & Plastic

  • At Tufts, mixed paper is collected by Save That Stuff and taken to their recycling plant in Charlestown. Save that stuff bales the paper and sells it to processing plants where the paper is used to make new paper products.
    Click here to learn more about paper consumption and recycling.
    Below is a list of paper materials that can and cannot be recycled.


    White & Colored Paper
    Magazines & Glossy Paper
    Cardboard & Boxboard
    Hard & Soft Covered Books
    Aseptic, Paper Juice & Milk Cartons
    Empty, clean paper cups
    *Please flatten cardboard and place behind a recycling bin. Thank you for your cooperation!
    *No need to remove staples, spirals or plastic wraps


    The following paper products CANNOT be recycled:
    Pizza Boxes
    Tissues, Napkins, Toilet Paper
    Dirty Paper Cups & Plates

    Location of Medford Battery, Cell Phone and Ink Cartridge Recycling

    Tufts affiliates can deposit batteries, cell phones, ink cartridges, lightbulbs, small electronics, and other electronic waste into any of the 40 battery recycling buckets we maintain on campus. In addition, faculty and staff can send in small amounts of electronic waste (for example, a small bag of batteries or a printer cartridge) to Facilities Services via interdepartmental mail: just place the contents into an interdepartmental mail envelope, write "Facilities Services, 520 Boston Ave" as the recipient, and let us do the rest!
    Recycling interns collect these bins bi-weekly. If you live or work in one of these locations and find that it is missing a bin, please email us.
    For Boston locations, click here.

    Other Resources

    • Almost all batteries can be recycled at Tufts, with the exception of liquid and gel acid batteries such as car batteries. Please put a piece of tape over the ends to prevent a fire hazard. A battery tester can help determine if your batteries are completely spent. A tester would be particularly useful for offices or groups that use many batteries.
    • Cellular phones can be recycled with batteries and ink-jet cartridges. Phones should be recycled (with batteries) because they contain hazardous metals and materials. Tufts Recycles! will donate them to MassRecycle.
    • Alternatively, cell phones can be donated through charities like Hope Phones.
    • "Ink-jet" cartridges from desktop printers can be recycled with cellular phones and batteries. They can also be mailed back through a Staples program. Click here for the free mailing label. Hewlett-Packard also provides free mailing labels on their website.
    Note: Laser cartridges are handled differently, click here to learn more.
  • As newer and better technologies hit the market monthly, millions of computers are rapidly becoming obsolete. Electronics, especially computers, are a very problematic waste stream.
    Computers pose an environmental threat because many of their components are hazardous. A typical monitor contains four to five pounds of lead.
    Computers also contain mercury, cadmium, chromium, and a slew of other hazardous materials. Thus, these materials must be recovered and recycled or disposed of in safe manner. Some computers can be salvaged, refurbished and reused, either as whole or for parts.

    To learn more...

  • Before computers with a Tufts ID tag number can be picked up by Facilities for recycling, a “change of status” needs to be reported to the Tufts Finance Division. Please report this change of status by emailing the tag numbers to The email subject line should read “Change of Status”. Most computers at Tufts no longer have tags on them. In this case, you do not need to report a change of status.
    It is recommended that Tufts information is cleaned from hardware before recycling or reuse. Please contact your Frontline Service Provider for more information. Another resource is Active@ Kill Disk Hard Driver Eraser.
    Most Tufts computers are recycled for free. However, charges may be applied to large scale clean-outs. To schedule a recycling pick up, please fill in a "no fee" service request on the Facilities website:
    Tufts old computers are either reused internally or recycled domestically by Allied Computer Brokers. No computer equipment from Tufts is sent overseas.
  • Unfortunately, Tufts Facilities Services can only recycle equipment owned by the university. Luckily, there are many computer end-of-life options for students and community members.
    • Medford Residents need to pay a $20 fee for a curbside removal collection sticker (same procedure for televisions). You can obtain stickers at the DPW office in City Hall, 85 George P. Hassett Drive, Room 304. Hours are M, TU,TH 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM, Wed 8:30 AM – 7:30 PM and Fri 8:30 – 12:30 PM. Residents are also welcome to mail a check and the sticker will mailed to them.
      • Somerville Residents can recycle computers and televisions for free. Notify the city by calling 3-1-1 or (617) 666-3311 the day before your trash day to schedule pick up. Be sure to observe city trash and recycling rules.

    For additional information, please visit our Electronics Recycling page.

    • eBay: Sell computers, cellular phones, cameras and audio equipment
    • Facebook users can now sell things via the Facebook Marketplace.
  • Before donating your computer, check out Tech Soup’s tips for donation.
    The following foundations are currently accepting computers:
    • TecsChange is a volunteer-led nonprofit organization. Call 617.442-4456 before dropping your computer off to be sure they will accept your model. Location: 83 Highland Street, Roxbury MA
  • Every year, some of the mattresses from Tufts dormitories need to be replaced. Depending on their condition, they are either donated or recycled. If a mattress has serious tears, or is deformed, it is removed and recycled. Up to 75 to 80 mattress from Tufts are recycled in a single calendar year. Mattresses in good condition are donated to local area shelters.

  • Empty toner bottles can be recycled with your bottles and cans. Unfortunately, bottles containing spent toner should be thrown in the trash.
    New laser cartridges typically come with a free mailing label to send back your used cartridge for free. Some laser cartridge manufacturers, including Toshiba, do not have a mailback program. Luckily, Tufts' preferred office supply vendor, Staples, has provided us with mailback labels. Click here to print out the label(s).
    Hewlett-Packard also provides free mailing labels on their website. Click here to print out the label(s).
  • The Facilities Department collects and recycles overhead tubes with Veolia Environmental. If you have a spent compact fluorescent bulb that was generated at Tufts, please contact us for pick-up.
    We cannot recycle bulbs from outside of Tufts. The EPA page on bulb disposal provides a regularly updated comprehensive list of recycling centers and options around the nation where non-Tufts bulbs can be recycled.
    These popular chain retailers will take your used CFLs at no cost to you:
    • Ace Hardware
    • The Home Depot
    • Ikea
    • True Value Hardware
    • Whole Foods Market

    Fluorescent bulbs and tubes are Tufts Recycles! Approved! We strongly support the use of compact fluorescent bulbs and tubes because they are much more energy efficient than regular bulbs.

    Although they have mercury in them, they actually help reduce more mercury emissions from power plants. Why? A substantial part of the electricity in MA is made by burning coal. Coal naturally contains mercury that is released when burned. Because fluorescent lamps use so much less electricity, the mercury that is in them is actually less than what would have been released into the air at the coal power plant if regular bulbs had been used. Learn more about energy efficiency, climate change and what Tufts is doing at

  • We recycle high pressure mercury arc lamps used in projectors. Email us if you would like us to pick up a bulb from your office.
  • Click for information on the Boston and Grafton campuses.