Broken glass and any materials other than cans, plastic and glass bottles must not be placed in recycling containers marked for that purpose, said recycling coordinator Jennifer Combs.
Her warning was issued after an employee of Jet-a-Way, the company that picks up the recycling material from campus, required six stitches for a cut he received from a broken microscope slide which was placed in a recycling container.
Both the cut itself and the question of whether anything dangerous was on the slide were of concern. "The Biosafety Office had to track down the slides and send them out for testing," Ms. Combs said. "An incident like this can have some serious physical, emotional and legal consequences."
Sharp objects including broken glass, window panes, mirrors, slides and laboratory materials should not be dropped into recycling containers, Ms. Combs emphasized. They are intended only for glass bottles, metal cans and #1 and #2 plastic (a number is stamped inside a recycling logo on the bottom of plastic containers).
Anyone with questions about recycling may contact Ms. Combs at firstname.lastname@example.org or x3-7671.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 13, 1998.