Reducing Waste

Reducing waste is not just a commitment to recycling paper or soda bottles, or just to recycling in general.  Reducing waste is a campus-wide dedication to finding innovative ways to use less material in our day-to-day operations, and to re-use those supplies we must consume.  Reducing our need for fresh supplies means a lower CO2 footprint for our campus, as well as significant monetary savings.  Below are the major projects in the BUMC’s waste reduction portfolio.


The BUMC uses a single-stream model of recycling for all standard office/classroom recyclable waste, allowing our community to recycle easily without taking up an unsupportable amount of valuable campus space.  The current recycling program is focused on action at the departmental or classroom level.  Read more about the recycling program here.

The BUMC also recycles a wide variety of materials that are not standard office supplies: light bulbs, corrugated cardboard, batteries, cell phones, scrap metal and construction waste.  Learn more about our non-traditional recycling policies here.

BUMC Equipment Swapping

The Sustainability Committee runs a loosely managed office supply and furniture swapping system through our sustainability forums.  For offices and departments that either need office supplies, or need to get rid of office supplies, feel free to post on the forum here.  The Sustainability Committee is looking for interested volunteers to help make this program more user-friendly and accessible.  If you are interested in helping out, send us an email.

We also highly urge our community members to investigate Freecycle, an online community-based re-use program that allows members to share, swap, and give away furniture and items they no longer need.

Overall Waste Reduction

In addition to the specific projects above, the Sustainability Committee is investigating a number of other techniques to reduce waste on campus, including double-sided printing in libraries and computer labs, getting discounts or deals from local vendors with re-usable coffee or beverage containers, and using paperless records where possible.  We are always interested in getting more people involved in finding new waste reduction strategies.  If you have an idea and want to help promote it on campus, send us an email about it.

July 9, 2009
Primary teaching affiliate
of BU School of Medicine