March - April 2013

//  Photo by Sam Houston

GreenToon Winners proudly show creations. See top entries here on facebook.
Photo by Sam Houston


Undergrad Environmental Action Committee Earth Day Clothing SwapIn every corner of the University, recyclers made their mark during Earth Month.
At the LAW SCHOOL, the Green Living Reps hosted "Fashion Swapaganza," a clothing swap at which several hundred garments changed owners...


Save an octopus!  Cut plastics pollution through recycling.  Barrels were displayed at the Harvard Kennedy School (shown) and six At ARTS FIRST WEEKEND, sponsored by the Office for the Arts, Jennifer Mahlum of the GRADUATE SCHOOL of EDUCATION and Devin Parker of the SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH painted recycling barrels to convey environmental themes such as the importance of e-waste recycling and and reducing plastic pollution in the oceans. See their web page here:


"Listen to Beyonce" and save paper! See the 'toon that inspired this caption and other winning GreenToons recognized by the Office for Sustainability's 10thannual GreenToons Contest awarded April 5 at this facebook site:


"FAS Earth Month Photo Booth": Brandon Geller of OFS invited ARTS AND SCIENCES celebrities to make an eco-pledge and have their "Mug Shot" taken for this Facebook page. Here are some resource-conserving pledges, completing the sentence: "For the future of our planet, I will:

"... print less," Ryan Rossner, '13

"... take shorter, colder showers," Vanessa Gonzalez, '16

"... use an LED bulb," Professor Greg Mankiw

"... eat less meat," OFS staffer Jamie Bemis

"... use a reusable mug," Kathryn Stephens, '13

" less, reuse more," OFS staffer Brandon Geller... and many other such sentiments.


Harvard REPs do the Harlem Shake at the Spring Waste Audit, celebrating a recycling improvement of 7% over last year.  The FAS Undergraduate Resource Efficiency Program conducted its 15th Annual Waste Audit, showing that recyclables in a random sample of trash dropped from 41% in FY12 to only 34% this year. Even better, REP Courtland Kelly '13 pulled a pair of Leverett House flashing rabbit ears out of the trash and led us through the Harvard Recycling version of the Harlem Shake:


 Gloria, Jyoti, Leslie and Rob.  Photo by Jonathan BeasleyHarvard Divinity School, led by the HDS Green Team, audited a random sample of its trash, led by Leslie Artinian MacPherson, Adekunle Ogunseye, HDS's representative to the Council of Student Sustainability Leaders and Custodial Supervisor Jyoti Rana. Their audit showed that HDS generated fewer recyclables in the trash, 19.7%, than any of the over 100 audits ever done at Harvard. Congratulations to the careful sorters and waste-busters at HDS! We asked Jyoti's team to take every fifth bag of trash from HDS for a sample. But the entire week's output was only 7 bags! So we audited ALL the trash from that week. HDS is also home to an extremely active Reuse Shelf area that sees use all year.


REP Coordinator Sam Houston climbs Mount Trashmore.The Kennedy School mounted a new push for composting... the Business School built their own Mount Trashmore... the Design School expanded wood waste recycling... and much, much more! For more details, check out OFS's website here:




Harvard won the inaugural RecycleMania GameDay Challenge by recovering more recyclables and compost from visitors to Lavieties Pavilion and Bright Arena on Friday, 2-15-13. Thanks to REP Coordinator Sam Houston, Athletics REP Emma Payne, Athletics Facilities Manager Jason Waldron, Athletics Recycling Booster Brandon Geller, Custodial Services Supervisor Augusto Arevalo and many others for setting a new standard for recycling at winter games as well as football season. Click on "Per Capita" tab at the link below:

In the main RecycleMania Tournament, Harvard once again beat all Ivy League contenders in the "Per Capita Classic" and "Gorilla Prize" competitions this year. See results below:



Also at Earth Day, Harvard student Patrick Xu established a new world record in the RecycleMania ReGames Bottle Free Throw competition. We hope to post the record on soon. See the winning effort here:



So far this month, Harvard is #3 behind MIT and Brandeis in redemptions at the GreenBean reverse vending machine. Starting 5-15-13, we have a new incentive to pass MIT. If we recycle more cans & bottles than any other school in the month of May, GreenBean will redeem $.10 instead of just $.05 for the top 10 recyclers from Harvard. So come on, can and bottle pickers—make some money and make Harvard proud! To see current standings or to register as a GreenBean user, visit here:




At the Holyoke Center Information Center from 11-2 PM, drop and swap reusables and meet your colleagues. Bring usable items you no longer need or want! Books, clothes, office supplies, tools, electronics, appliances, and any other reusables are welcome.


Please come help pick up goods for donation to charities from Harvard River-area Houses.

  • WHEN: Friday, 5-31-13. Anytime from 12 noon to 10 PM is helpful but we especially need volunteers from 2 PM – 5 PM.
  • WHERE: Intersection of JFK St and Memorial Drive, Cambridge.
  • WORK: Staff and secure Donation Stations, pick up goods (furniture, books, clothing etc.), roll loaded hampers from River House entries to truck-friendly pickup spots, supply other volunteers with water and sunscreen etc.
  • GET: Free"I Recycle" T-shirt with "Harvard Recycles" stencil! Free 1,000 calorie work-out!
  • HELP:charities including Harvard Habitat for HumanityWHY we need you:Cambridge RiverFest starts the next day and vehicle access to Memorial Drive, Plympton, DeWolfe and other nearby streets will be closed. We've got to get the goods out Friday if we can. Please call 617-495-3042 or email if you are able to spend an hour or two.



From Wednesday, May 15— Saturday, June 16 at 1580 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge MA, also known as "Little Mass Ave," all Cambridge residents will be able to donate reusables. Harvard Recycling will pick up all furniture, clothing, books, non-perishable food, office supplies, electronics, cosmetics and appliances at least once each day. All goods will be donated to Harvard Habitat for Humanity, the Cambridge Family Shelter, the Phillips Brooks House, COSAS and other charities. For questions please call 617-495-3042.



HBS Summer FreeCycle, Thursday, June 27 from 12:00-1:30 in the Meredith Room, Spangler. To donate reusables or to volunteer, check in with Erika McCaffrey, [ ] for hosting and coordinating!



Cambridge residents: Donate surplus household furniture! Our friend Randi Mail, Director of Cambridge Recycling, has these suggestions:


Arrange a free pickup of your good-condition furniture. Moving and can't take it all with you? Plan a few weeks ahead. Visit for our interactive list of organizations and details on pickup and drop-off options. These groups taking living, dining and bedroom furniture...and put them to good use. Groups with a star (*) also take mattresses in good condition. Plus, they'll pick up your stuff for free!

Salvation Army*  1-800-SA-TRUCK or use their online form
MA Coalition for the Homeless*  781-595-7570 x13 or
Aid to Incarcerated Mothers*  617-536-0058
Boomerangs  617-309-7220 or use their online form
MIT Furniture Exchange  617-253-4293 or (free pickup for big donations)
Epilepsy Foundation 888-322-8209 or use their online form

For more info, visit:

Waited until the last minute? You can sell or give stuff away through or Postings are free, most do better with a photo and it'll be gone in no time. If it's a ripped, torn, stained, about-to-fall-apart mess... unfortunately it probably is trash! City trash crews will pick up ONE piece of furniture per week from residences served by the Cambridge Department of Public Works. Remember, it's heading to the landfill or incinerator if you choose this route, so, if it's usable and is in good condition, please see what you can do to arrange a rescue! For more info, visit:



Don't throw it out. Click here for a Google map of where to donate your stuff in Cambridge with clothing drop boxes, thrift stores, consignment shops and second hand stores! You can donate clothing and textiles that are torn, stained, broken or missing something, to Goodwill, Red Cross, Salvation Army, Got Books/Clothes, and Planet Aid. These groups take clothing, shoes, belts, purses, hats, linens, stuffed animals, and fabric scraps. Just no dirty rags, nothing wet, nothing soiled, no carpets, no rugs, and no mildewed items. If it's not wearable, damaged clothing is recycled into wiping rags and everything else is processed back into fibers used to make paper, yarn, insulation, carpet padding, and sound proofing.



The Alumni Affairs & Development Green Team has been busy producing fun green videos promoting reusable mugs and their new K-cup recycling program. See here for hilarious dancing, singing, and puppeteering:

Stop in the Name of Trees:
K-Cup Choir Video:



Monday, 4-1-13, on April Fool's Day, we posted this article on the Recyc-L List Serve for the campus recycling and materials management community. Over 20 confused and amused (and a few serious) readers responded to the foolery:

April 1, 2013 

You're in for an exciting time whenever Sylvester "Sloof" Lirpa '75 comes to town for a visit.  Sloof has come up with a new invention he wants to pilot at our school, and I think it may be inappropriate.   Sloof wants to install porta-potties that recycle urine into drinking water.  Do you think people would actually drink this water?  The first pilot unit is getting installed here today for the construction workers at the future Cissi Hall.

The "Potty Fountain" looks like a conventional portable commode, but has solar panels on the roof, an in-vessel digestor for solid wastes and south-facing condenser channels.  Liquids recovered through the urinal and the collector in the front part of the "hopper" are pumped up to the sunlit condenser channels, which distill the urine into clean water.  A niche on the east side contains a push-button spigot which delivers 250 ml of chilled drinking water. In keeping with the campus's waste reduction goals, users must provide their own reusable container.  An in-vessel digestor uses the Potty’s solid waste to make methane, which powers fuel cells running the pumps and chiller built into the PF.  On a sunny day, Sloof claims that his PF can service 1,000 visitors and dispense as many servings of water.  This could create a new competition for next year's RecycleMania Tournament: Targeted Material "P," right after Material N: E-Waste and Material O: Plastic Film. With an average contribution of 200 ml of liquid waste, a  busy PF could recycle 200 kg of liquid waste into drinking water, all without any plastic bottles.

Several engineering students have signed up to monitor the PF's and one of them, D. Avrile Poisson SEAS '16 has even brewed a hot coffee-like beverage from the digestor's residual biochar.  The recycled caffeine content of this "coffee" exceeds 250 mg per serving.  Avrile's study group routinely drinks it while solving problem sets.  This creates the prospect of a recycling Potty Cafe, dispensing not only water, but also a hot coffee-like drink.

So what do you think?  It seems to me that the "yuck" factor is a little too high.  Would a pecycling Potty Fountain, or even a Potty Cafe, work on your campus?  The answer at ours is yes, according to Poisson, D. Avrile and Sloof Lirpa.     



BERKELEY "CHEWS to REUSE" campaign provides students with reusable to-go containers in all dining halls. See the inspiring teamwork that made this happen at Cal Dining. Thanks to Lin King of Berkeley Recycling for passing this along:


UK short video

UK short video shows carbon impacts of material consumption in insightful animation. Thanks to David Alloway of the State of Oregon for the referral. See short animation here:



See how Harvard EAC member Terilyn Chen '16 turns playing cards into brooches:




Working fax machine for recent Harvard retiree. Please let us know if you have one to donate.


SURPLUS FURNITURE and other items are available at our Recycling and Surplus Center in Allston every Thursday except Thanksgiving Day from 11 AM -- 2 PM. If donating furniture, please instruct your movers to contact us 24 hours before delivery so that we can receive and display everything safely. We can take material only from Harvard buildings which use FMO Recycling & Waste Services, and we can never receive any trash or hazardous waste. All loose items must be boxed in 24" x 40" bin boxes, staged on pallets. Movers must provide their own boxes, but pallets are available here.

When donating file cabinets and desks, please unlock, open up and clean out all drawers. We cannot receive any furniture with unknown contents. Likewise, please make sure all computers, smart phones and other electronic devices are purged of any confidential information. Harvard Recycling does not shred or otherwise destroy any confidential materials we pick up or that are delivered to the recycling and surplus center. Thus it is the responsibility of the donor or recycler to make proper arrangements to protect confidential information. Please call us if you need extra recycling barrels or more pickups when cleaning out offices and furniture. Also, please ask us for contact information for confidential destruction vendors serving the campus. Our preferred vendor is DataShredder at 1-800-622-1808.

Please keep in mind that parking space limitations force us to be STRICT ABOUT PARKING RULES. Please respect our neighbors' need to maintain safe traffic flow around the Recycling and Surplus Center. When here for Thursday's Surplus Distribution, please park only at the 219 Western Avenue lot and follow the parking monitor's directions. You may also park in the free spaces in the streets adjacent to the property. If you are interested in seeing any of the items now available, come to our Recycling and Surplus Center at 175 North Harvard Street in Allston any Thursday from 11 to 2 PM. Everything is free, first-come, first-served and open to everyone.

Here is a map, thanks to Peter Siebert of the Planning Office, showing the location of our Recycling and Surplus Center:

SURPLUS AVAILABLE as of 5-16-13:

Several truckloads of desks, tables, task chairs, file cabinets and other goods. Come in a truck with plenty of space and take a look!

Thanks for Reducing, Reusing and Recycling!



Proud mother ROBIN sits on its nest in the Lamont Pit.  Photo by Colleen BryantProud mother ROBIN sits on its nest in the Lamont Pit.
Photo by Colleen Bryant.


A medium-sized EASTERN COTTONTAIL RABBIT rests in front of the bushes at the entrance of Houghton... small rabbit rests quietly as pedestrian passes quite close behind Greenough Hall.

PEREGRINE FALCON sits atop the tower of Memorial Chapel nearly every day.

Ken Lager with his pet parrot visit the Harvard Kennedy School.  Photo by Scott McDonaldKen Lager with his pet parrot visit the Harvard Kennedy School.
Photo by Scott McDonald.


This morning I noticed a trail of enormous tracks in the fresh snow on the Banks Street sidewalk abutting Mather House. They looked like something out of Jurassic Park. I assume it was a turkey – sorry I missed her!

Mother ROBIN proudly broods on its nest in the crook of a crabapple tree in Lamont Pit garden. White ribbons festoon the nest and dangle down the trunk, while thousands of pink blossoms form a dense canopy overhead.

From May "Inside SEAS:" HawkCam

Lucky us—a pair of red-tailed hawks have again chosen to raise their chicks on the roof of Maxwell Dworkin!

Eric Tatten in Facilities and Nater Jorde and Sergiy Shevchenko in Computing kindly set up the livestreaming HawkCam last week. Sadly, shortly thereafter, it suffered a power failure. We're now awaiting the delivery of a replacement power supply, but we hope to have it up and running again soon at

In the meantime, Susan Moses at HSPH offers a back-story on our favorite birds:

"For many years a pair of red-tailed hawks had nested in a nearby tree. Two years ago, they started a new nest on the Maxwell-Dworkin building, but the female was injured so the nest (and eggs) were abandoned. I tracked her down and found out she was being treated at the Tufts Wildlife Clinic in Grafton. To make a long story short, when she healed I brought her back to Cambridge. She won back her mate who had found another partner when she had 'disappeared.' It was too late for them to lay more eggs that year, but last year they built a new nest on Holyoke Center on Mt. Auburn Street. They had two chicks, but I'm not sure what happened to them since I never saw or heard the juveniles once they fledged. This year the pair decided to return to the nest on the Maxwell-Dworkin building and try again."

RED-TAILED HAWK flies from the Yard to a tree in front of the Faculty Club with prey (a Robin?)... SEAS mascot red-tailed hawk (see above) clutches carcass of squirrel and leaves nest on Maxwell Dworkin to fly to large WILLOW tree near Pierce Hall. When pedestrian comes too close, hawk hurriedly takes off to fly into higher branches of the nearby WALNUT, ripping green three-foot stem off willow and clutching it tightly in talons along with rodent remains.

CROW caws loudly on Grays Hall.

Two SNOW GEESE fly from Quincy St. over Sever and beyond.

WHITE-THROATED SPARROW moves from bush to bush in front of Loeb House.

HERMIT THRUSH enjoys the flowers and bushes in front of Loeb House.

Under the Larz Anderson Bridge, among the little rings widening under raindrops, migrating ALEWIVES break the surface in silver leaps... further upstream, large schools of alewives thrash in the shallow water along the banks of the Charles near 1230 Soldiers Field Road.

Two or three HORSE FLIES arise from the sprawling greenery by the bay window in front of the Faculty Club, followed a few days later by house flies.

Two AZALEA bushes in front of Loeb House are radiant with pink blossoms.

At Hoffman Labs on Oxford Street, tall white MAGNOLIA and vibrant yellow FORSYTHIAS turn pedestrians' heads.

Facing Wigglesworth on either corner of Grays Hall, the CORNELIAN CHERRIES blossom in yellow.

Behind Boylston facing Wigglesworth and the side toward Widener, blue-purple scyllas give students welcome glimpse of color after a hard winter.

At the Faculty Club, three tiny Irises host a lone BUMBLEBEE.

Two SONG SPARROWS forage on the roof of Pusey.

PINK STAR MAGNOLIA is in romantic bloom next to the entrance to Loeb House.

PINK-BUD TREE facing the entrance to the Fogg is in gorgeous delicate pink bloom.

CRAB-APPLES on the roof of Pusey exhibit large clusters of dark pink blossoms and some trees with white.

As we take good care of our University's material resources and landscapes, we benefit our plant and animal neighbors. Please share sightings with us and help us celebrate the increasing biodiversity of our campus as we restore our ecosystems to health! Thanks to Campus Nature Watchers Colleen Bryant, Don Claflin, Zak Gingo, Dave Harris, Nater Jorde, Sonia Ketchian, Erika McCaffrey, Susan Moses, Sergiy Shevchenko, Melissa Smith and Eric Tatten!

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