How to Recycle – Boston

Boston 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!
  • 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 Boston Campus 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 10 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 Medford 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. Your manufacturer or service provider may also offer phone recycling programs.
    • "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 a safe manner. Some computers can be salvaged, refurbished and reused, either as a whole or for individual parts.

  • 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.
    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.
    The old computers are either reused internally or recycled domestically by Veolia Environmental Services. No computer equipment from Tufts is sent overseas.
  • Sorry, Tufts Facilities Department can only recycle equipment owned by the university. Luckily, there are many computer end-of-life options for students and community members.
    • Boston Residents can recycle computers and televisions for free. Please call Sanitation for an appointment at (617) 635-7574 or via e-mail:
    Other Computer-Recycling Options include:
    • Apple offers free mail-in recycling of any brand computer when you purchase any qualifying Apple computer or monitor.
    • Dell offers free recycling of Dell products.
    • Recycle Sony products free by dropping them off at a Waste Management Facility:
    • PRTR Inc. Transfer Station
      791 Boston Post Rd. (Rt. 20), East Marlboro, MA 01752
      RCI Fitchburg Landfill
      101 Fitchburg Road (Rt. 31), Westminster, MA 01473
    • Staples recycles computers for $10 per piece: 25 Court Street Boston | 25 Winter Street Boston, MA
    • The Toshiba trade-in program provides you with a way to trade-in or recycle used, working, technology products in exchange for a refund by mail. If your item is no longer functioning, or has no trade-in value, it can be responsibly recycled for the cost of shipping.
    • 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
    • Youth Build Boston’s wish list includes computers. Call them to arrange logistics at 617-445-8887.
  • 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).
  • Tufts Facilities Services recycles each and every bulb which burn out or break on campus. If your office requires a bulb to be changed or recycled, please contact Facilities Services at x63535 (Boston) or 508.839.7921 (Grafton). Unfortunately, we cannot accept lightbulbs from individual residences outside of Tufts. Please contact your city's municipal recycling program or check out for local dropoff sites.
    Fluorescent bulbs and tubes are a more eco-friendly way of lighting up our world. Fluorescent light bulbs use less energy and have longer lives than thegeneral service incandescent bulbs. Buying compact fluorescent lamps are cost-efficient too; one CFL can save you up to $40 worth of electricity costs over the lamp's lifetime!
    However, they still need to be recycled properly. As these bulbs and tubes do contain a small amount of mercury, the EPA has set disposal regulations on the disposal of fluorescents. All Tufts fluorescent bulbs and tubes are recycled by Veolia Environmental Services. For more information, please visit

    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 Medford and Grafton campuses.