Campus & Community

Talking trash

2 min read

The Boston Area Student Environmental Leadership Conference at Harvard Oct. 27-28 served more than 1,000 meals to the 400 participants but generated only three bags of trash because of extensive planning with Crimson Catering. This number of people would normally have generated 80 to 100 bags of trash. Student planners asked for cloth napkins instead of paper; china plates instead of paper or Styrofoam; loose piles of potato chips instead of individual serving packages.

In fiscal year 2000

  • Harvard recovered almost 3,000 tons of material for recycling. This effort saved more than 5,000 cubic yards of landfill space – enough to fill Blodgett Pool.
  • Harvard recovered 28 percent of its discards for recycling.
  • 843 tons of leaves and other organic waste were recovered for composting.
  • More than 1,500 tons of paper and cardboard were recovered for recycling, which saved the carbon equivalent of 1,000 cars’ worth of carbon dioxide from being released into the environment over a year period.

Each student and employee at Harvard yearly generates (or others generate on their behalf) approximately …

  • 500 pounds of trash
  • 5 pounds of scrap computers, which are recovered for recycling
  • 400 pounds of paper, books and periodicals, most of which is now recycled
  • 60 pounds of corrugated cardboard, most of which is not yet recycled
  • 250 pounds of construction and demolition debris, most of which is landfilled
  • 40 pounds of landscape waste, most of which is recovered for composting