How to Change the World Without Leaving Your Residence Hall

Two watercolored boxes with faces on them. Above one text reads, "commingled plastics" and the other "mixed paper and cardboard"
August 30, 2018

Recycling. It’s good for our climate, good for our campus, and good for our world!


A world spins


At Wellesley, we are all about finding ways to change the world (in between classes and orgs, and eating, and breathing, of course).


A student sits at a desk reading. Classmates move to different seats to show passage of time.


In 2017–2018 we collected about 141 tons of recyclable materials, including paper, plastic, and cans. That means 141 tons of stuff was recycled that would have otherwise been sent to an incinerator.


Michelle Obama claps as an audience member


We get that you have a lot going on, but here’s one simple way to ease your stress about your carbon footprint...because we can all do better.


Leslie Knope (Parks and Recreation) mouths the words "Im read")


Now, the Office of Sustainability is helping you* help Wellesley increase that number (and reduce your trips to the recycling bins).


A woman nods her head and points


* This is a pilot program for all first-years and Caz residents to see if the bags will increase our recycling rate.


Here’s how it works:

  1. Put your recyclables in the bag.​


A student puts recycling in a blue bag that hangs on the side of her bed.


    2. Walk the bag down the hall when it is full. Separate paper and plastics.


 A student separates paper from plastic. A green recycling image rotates.


  And do it properly! We have a dual-stream system, which means paper and plastics need to be separated.

Examples of mixed paper items (like loose leaf and newspaper) and commingled (metal cans and plastic bottles)


Some other important information:

Nicole Zhao ’20 designed the bags. She won a Camellia Student Leadership Award for her work in recycling graphics and on-campus campaigns.


The blue bag sits on a staircase. A hand from outside the frame puts a piece of paper in the bag. Stars shoot out of the bag.


This sustainability pilot program is brought to you by the class of 1957. Leave it to a green class to spark a green initiative that will have an impact on Wellesley students for generations.


The green class of 1957's reunion photo. They hold a banner that reads 1957.