Blog Post

Businesses and institutions that host large-scale events often face the challenge of managing the excess food and single-use materials generated during these events. As reported by Harvard Law Today, the 2019 Harvard Law School Commencement recently demonstrated how to implement a robust waste diversion program for a one-day event while serving prepared lunches to more than 800 graduates, family members, and friends.

The Harvard Law School Green Team worked closely with their waste hauler and campus colleagues to implement a successful diversion program for food scraps and single stream recycling. Prior to the event, the Green Team set up a Zero Waste tent with collection containers for food scraps, recycling, and trash. Meanwhile, the Facilities Management Office placed waste collection containers across the venue, which were transported to the tent for consolidation.

Throughout the event, Green Team volunteers stationed in the Zero Waste tent sorted incoming materials into their respective containers. Thanks to their efforts, Harvard Law School diverted 99 bags of food scraps for anaerobic digestion, 29 bags of recycling, and 11 bags of trash. They also donated the extra lunches to Food for Free, a Cambridge nonprofit, who redistributed the food to local families in need.

RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts (RecyclingWorks) provides free recycling and food waste diversion technical assistance to Massachusetts businesses and institutions. RecyclingWorks has developed guidance for organizations contracting for trash, recycling, and food waste hauling service and the RecyclingWorks Find-A-Recycler tool allows users to search for local haulers and recycling businesses across Massachusetts. To speak to a recycling and food waste diversion expert, call our hotline: (888) 254-5525 or email us at