Blog Post

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is paving the way for a sustainable future with its ambitious Climate Action Plan for the Decade aiming to decarbonize campus operations by 2050. The heart of MIT’s sustainability mission lies in its quantitative impact goals that will touch every aspect of MIT life, from energy consumption to sustainable food systems, to waste management. Let’s dive into their waste reduction plan: 

Reducing Campus Waste 

Waste reduction is a key focus at MIT, with a goal to decrease campus trash by 30% by 2030 compared to 2019 levels. The strategy involves improving their waste tracking system, reducing single-use items, and implementing a food scrap collection program. To set this waste reduction goal, MIT was informed by data from previous waste audits, pilot programs, and waste haulers.  

Food waste, comprising 40% of campus trash, is a particular target. By collecting food waste separately and reprocessing it into compost, fertilizer, or energy, MIT aims to minimize its environmental impact and contribute to a circular economy. 

Tracking Progress & Staying Committed 

MIT is not just setting goals; they are also being transparent with their progress. Community members can monitor the journey through public-facing dashboards such as Material Matters. This approach fosters a sense of collective responsibility and encourages individuals to play an active role in achieving these sustainability goals. 

How Can RecyclingWorks Help Your College or University? 

If you represent a college or university and would like direct assistance with waste reduction and recycling programs, RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts (RecyclingWorks) is here to support you. We can create educational signage for your waste and recycling bins, offer in-person site visits and comprehensive, customized waste reduction recommendations, and more. Call our hotline at 888-254-5525 or email us at to get started. 

We also have a webpage for colleges and universities that offers waste reduction and recycling tips, resources, and case studies. Here are some of the universities that RecyclingWorks has collaborated with on waste reduction initiatives: 

  • To reduce food waste, Brandeis University focused on food service contracting to establish a performance plan for their third-party food service provider. 
  • Simmons University engaged in a successful reuse project that prevented furniture and office supplies from being disposed of. 
  • This video about UMass Amherst showcases the university’s source reduction, food donation, and composting programs.