Waste & Recycling

Addressing waste management and providing robust recycling services to our community is a big priority at WPI. With a range of waste and recycling initiatives from Project Clean Plate to the E-Waste Drive, we’re focused on offering sustainable solutions.


WPI attempts to divert as much waste as possible; most of our trash is used to generate energy through incineration, our collected food waste is sent to a local pig farmer, unserved food is collected by the Food Recovery Network and donated, and recyclables are sent to recycling plants.

The Green Team helps organize an E-Waste Drive every year with the Office of Sustainability to divert electronics from the landfill. 

Annual Waste Audit

In partnership with the Green Team, the annual waste audit allows WPI to see the recycling rates of buildings on campus. Read the most recent waste audit (2018-2019), which analyzed the waste of the Campus Center.


Actual Recycling Rate


Target Recycling Rate

Project Clean Plate

Typically held in A Term, Project Clean Plate is an event in which people in Morgan Hall POD with no food waste are given raffle tickets to try to win prizes. This data was collected in B term of 2018 by the Green Team and Waste Management at the POD during the Project Clean Plate events.


of students waste food

.16 lbs.

of food wasted per person

Have Questions?

Contact WPI Department of Facilities at +1-508-831-5500 if you have any questions or concerns about the disposal of any materials. If you see a place that needs recycling bins, please contact green@wpi.edu with your suggestion.


The WPI recycling program handles paper, cardboard, plastics #1-#7 (nearly all), glass, batteries, used electronics and components, lights, ballasts, books, and surplus (bulky items like furniture). 

You can find recycling receptacles in many places around campus for easy access. E-waste bins for electronics are present in most academic buildings; ask where at the main office.

What Can WPI Recycle?

WPI can recycle:

  • Paper, newspaper, paperboard, cardboard, and magazines (make sure you flatten all boxes)
  • Clean and empty containers:
    • Glass
    • Plastic bottles, jars, jugs, and tubs 
    • Tin, aluminum, and steel cans 


Learn more about how to prepare your recyclables to be processed by WPI’s Facilities Department.


WPI cannot recycle:

  • Styrofoam and paper cups
  • Plastic bags
  • Containers with food residue
  • Plastic wrappers
  • Disposable utensils, straws
  • Liquids or food waste

Bust Those Myths!

Check out some myths about recycling, including whether bottlecaps are recyclable and what happens when recyclables end up in the trash.


Recyclemania is a nationwide recycling competition between colleges and universities.  Over 300 colleges across 43 states joined in the friendly competition this year, recycling over 48 million pounds of waste. WPI competed in three categories: Diversion, Per Capita Classic, and Food Waste.  

Results after a COVID-forced five-week abbreviation of the competition showed that WPI achieved:

  • a 45% diversion rate (ranking 40th among all institutions)
  • a Per Capita Classic rate of 9.86 pounds of recycling per person (ranking 42 among all institutions)
  • an Honorable Mention in the Food Waste Category, following the first-place ranking of Stanford University. 

Recyclemania 2020 Results

Week 1

Diversion: 39.94% recycling rate - ranked 46/108 

Per Capita Classic: 2.68 lb/person - ranked 29/142

Food Diversion: 35.48 points - ranked 4/168

Week 2

Diversion: 40.15% recycling rate - ranked 51/124 

Per Capita Classic: 4.08 lb/person - ranked 42/166

Food Diversion: 35.48 points - ranked 4/168

Week 3

Diversion: 34.22% recycling rate - ranked 65/126 

Per Capita Classic: 4.10 lb/person - ranked 69/166

Food Diversion: 35.48 points - ranked 4/168

Week 4

Diversion: 46.70% recycling rate - ranked 32/120 

Per Capita Classic: 6.69 lb/person - ranked 33/156

Food Diversion: 35.51 points - ranked 3/143

Week 5

Diversion: 44.85% recycling rate - ranked 40/130 

Per Capita Classic: 9.86 lb/person - ranked 42/172

Food Diversion: 35.28 points - ranked 3/143

Week 6

Diversion: 35.66% recycling rate - ranked 69/136 

Per Capita Classic: 8.00 lb/person - ranked 73/187

Food Diversion: 35.51 points - ranked 4/149

Week 7

Diversion: 40.09% recycling rate - ranked 55/138 

Per Capita Classic: 12.20 lb/person - ranked 54/189

Food Diversion: 35.51 points - ranked 4/149

Week 8

Diversion: 39.71% recycling rate - ranked 51/132 

Per Capita Classic: 13.58 lb/person - ranked 56/184

Food Diversion: 35.51 points - ranked 4/149

WPI Projects on Waste & Recycling

Waste to Energy: Optimization of Biofuel Production from Hospital Food Waste

Glass Recycling in Caño Martín Peña

Investigating Sustainability Efforts of a Zero-Waste Grocery Delivery Service


Several faculty members also conduct research regarding waste and recycling, including Berk Calli, Marion Emmert, Adam Powell, Yan Wang, and Mingjiang Tao.