Waste

Introduction

Waste reduction mitigates the need to extract virgin materials from the earth, such as trees and metals. Reducing the generation of waste reduces the flow of waste to incinerators and landfills which produce greenhouse gas emissions, can contaminate air and groundwater supplies, and tend to have disproportionate negative impacts on low-income communities. Source reduction and waste diversion also save institutions costly landfill and hauling service fees. In addition, waste reduction campaigns can engage the entire campus community in contributing to a tangible sustainability goal.

Featured Resources

919 resources

Lafayette College Sustainable Food Loop

  • Lafayette College (PA)

LaFarm is a sustainability initiative at the College and the cornerstone of the Lafayette College Sustainable Food Loop.

Our mission is to integrate curriculum and practice in sustainable food and ...


LMU sustainability students for water refill challenge

  • Loyola Marymount University (CA)

Fill it Forward Reusable water Bottle challenge co-hosted over 20 events creating $400,000 in value, reached 50,000 people, activated 7,000 people to forgo single use plastic water ...


IUPUI and Butler Collaborate to Launch Commercial Food Compost Program in Indianapolis

  • Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) (IN)

IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis) has an ongoing partnership with Butler University to employ a large waste hauler for food waste compost collection. Both universities leveraged their respective networks to ...


Waste Characterization with Campus Residents

  • Santa Clara University (CA)

Center for Sustainability interns Nate Redinbo ('20), Ali Deambrosio ('20), and Amanda Eason ('20) teamed up with Dunne Hall residents for a Waste Characterization event. These events involve gathering waste ...


Gathering Fruit with the Glean Team

  • Santa Clara University (CA)

SCU's Glean Team is a volunteer-based group that gathers fruit from the hundreds of fruit-bearing trees on campus and surrounding area. Harvested fruit is donated to on-campus food pantries ...


Cal State East Bay Embraces System-wide Single-use Plastics Policy

  • California State University, East Bay (CA)

The California State University system passed a new system-wide policy in 2019 that applies to all 23 CSU campuses in banning the institutional purchase of all single-use plastics. Plastic straws ...


Humber - Anthropocene Art Installation

  • Humber College (ON)

Sustainability and art collide at Humber's North Campus

Humberthropocene (a play on the term "Anthropocene") is a mural assemblage led by Toronto-based environmental artist Anya Mielniczek and co-created by ...


Overall Top Performer, Associate Institutions: NSCC

  • Nova Scotia Community College (NS)

Photo of student cycling by green wall at NSCC Ivany Campus; Monica Foster (VP College Services and CFO), Martha MacGowan (Sustainability Technologist), and Amel Muskic (Facilities Support Assistant) completing a ...


Aquinas Photos for 2020 SCI

  • Aquinas College (MI)

Pictures for Aquinas' recognition in the waste category of the 2020 SCI.


System-wide single-use plastics policy

  • San Jose State University (CA)

2020 SCI. System-wide single-use plastics policy highlight picture.


COVID-19 and Sustainability Resources

  • Princeton University (NJ)

The Office of Sustainability has compiled this list of resources to support Princeton University students, faculty and staff as they navigate challenges related to sustainability and COVID-19 at this moment ...

  • Posted Sept. 11, 2020
  • Publications
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Webinar: Managing Surplus Property for Zero Waste

  • College & University Recycling Coalition (DC)

CURC learned in a 2019 survey that managing surplus property was a key interest of members to learn about. What strategies for managing surplus property work on different campuses, public ...

  • Posted Sept. 11, 2020
  • Videos & Webinars
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Reaching Your Collaborators: Communicating for Connection & Education

  • College & University Recycling Coalition (DC)

Welcome to the CURC 2020 Webinar Series!

Trying to implement a campus-wide waste initiative with limited time, influence and staff is a barrier we've all faced. How do we ...

  • Posted Aug. 4, 2020
  • Videos & Webinars
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On-Campus Composting: How to Start, Evolve, and Overcome Challenges

  • Colorado State University (CO)
  • Fort Lewis College (CO)
  • Princeton University (NJ)
  • St. John's University, New York (NY)
  • Western Michigan University (MI)
  • AASHE (PA)

Is your campus considering starting an on-site composting program, but doesn’t know where to start or which system to choose? Or does your campus want to grow its program ...

  • Posted July 16, 2020
  • Videos & Webinars
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UVM’s Roadmap to Zero Waste: Effective Strategies for Enhancing Zero Waste Management Goals at the University of Vermont

  • University of Vermont (VT)

This senior thesis seeks to provide effective strategies for enhancing Zero Waste management goals at the University of Vermont by incorporating the needs of campus stakeholders. As the global garbage ...

  • Posted July 10, 2020
  • Publications
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UBC Bookstore Plastic Bag Alternative

  • University of British Columbia (BC)

Single-use plastic bags have become a common household item since the 1970s. These are supplied nearly everywhere from grocery stores, to clothing stores and bookstores. Used to hold groceries, trash ...

  • Posted July 10, 2020
  • Publications
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Understanding Food Waste at Johnson County Community College: A Multi-Method Approach

  • Johnson County Community College (KS)

Food waste and food insecurity are vastly different, yet inextricably linked, social, economic, and environmental problems which afflict societies throughout the world. This study contributes to the literature on individual ...


UC Berkeley Move Out Programming 2020 - Safety During COVID-19

  • University of California, Berkeley (CA)

The UC Berkeley 2020 Student Move Out Coalition, in partnership with the City of Berkeley and UC Berkeley's Government & Community Relations office, compiled and created resources allowing for ...

  • Posted May 28, 2020
  • Outreach Materials
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E-waste recycling assessment at university campus: a strategy toward sustainability

  • Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit (Nayarit)

Electronic waste is one of the main environmental problems caused by the consumption’s dynamics. E-waste disposal is concerning all the stakeholders, from policymakers to the end users. Hence, an ...


Solid Waste Characterization and Recycling Potential for a University Campus in China

  • University of Surrey
  • Henan Agricultural University (Henan)

Waste characterization is the first step to a successful waste management system. This paper explores the trend of solid waste generated on a university campus (Longzi Lake Campus of Henan ...


Committing UC Berkeley to the Strongest Plastic Ban in the Country

  • University of California, Berkeley (CA)
  • CALPIRG Students (CA)

CALPIRG Students, a student-run public interest nonprofit, ran and won their campaign to commit UC Berkeley to eliminate all non-essential single-use plastic by 2030. This is the strongest plastic ban ...


Housing Sustainability Assistants - Compost Pilot

  • Carnegie Mellon University (PA)

Carnegie Mellon University’s Housing Sustainability Assistants team supported a 4-week composting pilot within on-campus housing to ensure successful composting implementation in the future. The student team was tasked with ...


Sustainable Food and Dining: Swat2Go 2019-2020 Final Report

  • Swarthmore College (PA)

The Swat2Go reusable container pilot program was developed to avoid and reduce waste through the implementation of this reusable container pilot program. Over the course of the last year, this ...


The Free Store: A centre for re-use & recycling at the University of Ottawa

  • University of Ottawa (ON)

The University of Ottawa’s Residences had a problem with waste. Large dumpsters would fill with valuable and reusable items every spring and fall when students moved out. These items ...


“#ACGGoesPlasticFree Campaign: ACG Cares for a plastic-free future!”

  • The American College of Greece (Aghia Paraskevi)

The #ACGGoesPlasticFree Campaign is an ongoing project that was launched in July 2018 by the ACG Center of Excellence for Sustainability (CES) which operates under the Office of Public Affairs ...


EchoWorks: An Electronics Recycling Community Partnership

  • Western Dakota Technical Institute (SD)

EchoWorks is a social enterprise that recycles electronic waste and employs people with disabilities. Located on the campus of Western Dakota Tech, a community college in Rapid City, South Dakota ...


No Food Left Behind: A free text service to reduce food insecurity and food waste

  • University of California, Merced (CA)

No Food Left Behind is a free text messaging service that connects students, staff and faculty at the University of California, Merced to events that might have food leftover. People ...


Swarthmore College Sustainability Research: Equitable Zero Waste

  • Swarthmore College (PA)

A year long research project developed by students to help and develop an equitable zero waste mindset and framework of thinking.


BCIT Wood-Waste-to-Energy Project

  • British Columbia Institute of Technology (BC)

In pursuit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, showcasing environmentally-sustainable projects for widespread use, and incorporating sustainability more broadly in curriculum, British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) has created a closed-loop ...


Campaign on Creating Sustainable Futures: Bring Your Own Container

  • DE LA SALLE LIPA (BATANGAS)

In Academic Year 2016-2017, DE LA SALLE LIPA (DLSL) re-aligned its institutional thrusts to align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In pursuit of its third Strategic Direction, Creating ...


Kent State University Textile Reuse and Recycling Programs Divert 441,610 pounds (221 tons) From Landfill to Benefit Community and Campus Over Past 5 Years

  • Kent State University (OH)

Kent State University has reduced the amount of materials sent to landfills while providing benefits to the local community, campus, and our students. For the past 5 academic years, 2014-2015 ...


UVM's Roadmap to Zero Waste

  • University of Vermont (VT)

This senior thesis seeks to provide effective strategies for enhancing Zero Waste management goals at the University of Vermont by incorporating the needs of campus stakeholders. As the global garbage ...


Integrating Green and Sustainable Chemistry into Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories: Closing and Assessing the Loop on the Basis of a Citrus Biorefinery Approach for the Biocircular Economy in Brazil

  • Universidade Federal de São Carlos
  • University of York

One of the keys to achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in education is to introduce novel pedagogical strategies into university curricula in order to promote an ...


How mindfulness training cultivates introspection and competence development for sustainable consumption

  • Arizona State University (AZ)
  • Leuphana University of Lüneburg

Purpose This paper aims to explore the relationship between introspection and key competencies for sustainable consumption (KCSCs). It investigates whether mindfulness training can cultivate the ability to introspect and stimulate ...


Teaching Sustainability in Fashion Design Courses Through a Zero-Waste Design Project

  • Illinois State University (IL)
  • University of North Texas (TX)

With the increased importance of learning about sustainability in fashion design curriculum, this article reports the teaching zero-waste design in existing fashion design courses that teach skills needed to create ...


Don't Dump! Donate!

  • South Dakota State University (SD)

Don’t Dump! Donate! takes place during move-out week and keeps reusable material out of the landfill. It provides the opportunity for students to donate unwanted but good quality items ...


University of Vermont Eco-Reps Waste Campaign Case Study

  • University of Vermont (VT)

The University of Vermont has improved its waste infrastructure, from expanding composting facilities beyond dining halls to implementing waste reduction programs like EcoWare and a straw-upon-request policy. UVM Eco-Reps’ work ...


Trex Plastic Film Challenge

  • Texas A&M University (TX)

In November 2018, the Department of Residence Life at Texas A&M University began the Trex Plastic Film Challenge in partnership with a Virginia-based company, Trex. Trex is a national company ...


Utilizing Freezers for Compost Collection at Holy Cross’ Student Apartments

  • College of the Holy Cross (MA)

The College of the Holy Cross added compost collection for student food waste in two college-owned apartments, William Hall and Figge Hall. Instead of traditional indoor collection bins, small freezers ...


Building a Resilient Recycling Operation Against Market Forces, Financial Pressures, & Contamination Developments

  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (WI)

Recycling rates had plateaued. By 2016, even with the best of internal marketing and operational changes, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee was left to the devices of a decentralized collection and ...


“Box to Farm to Compost”: A Paradigm Shift from an Extractive Culture to Regenerative Culture

  • Iowa State University (IA)

As a land grant university with a student population of over 30,000 students and about 6000 faculty and staff, there are enormous packaging items that make its way to ...


Pay As You Throw: Testing a New Waste Reduction Strategy at Yale University

  • Yale University (CT)

In the spring of 2019, Yale launched a Pay As You Throw (PAYT) pilot program, the first of its kind among American institutions of higher education. From inception to development ...

  • Posted April 17, 2020
  • Case Studies
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Reuse in Action: Repair Fairs

  • Carleton College (MN)
  • AASHE (PA)

A Repair Fair is a match-making event that pairs items needing fixed with volunteer repairers or “fixers” to attempt to repair anything from bikes to clothing, to electronics. The Carleton ...

  • Posted April 16, 2020
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Creating a Sustainable and Engaging Food Waste Recycling Program

  • Chandler-Gilbert Community College (AZ)
  • AASHE (PA)

This presentation will focus on The CGCC Food Waste Recycling Project, an ongoing campus-wide collaborative project that offers deep, cross-disciplinary, experiential student learning via an innovative solution for CGCC’s ...

  • Posted April 9, 2020
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Campus sustainability: An integrated model of college students’ recycling behavior on campus

  • University of Tennessee at Knoxville (TN)

Proposing an integrated model based on multiple theoretical approaches, such as the theory of planned behavior, the model of goal-directed behavior and self-determination theory, the purpose of this paper is ...

  • Posted March 4, 2020
  • Publications
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Sequestering Carbon: Using Campus Wood to Make Carbon-Capturing Furniture and Items

  • Western Michigan University (MI)

The Living Woodshop, run by the Office for Sustainability at Western Michigan University, has been designed as a partnership with the Facilities Management department to reuse lumber on campus. Wood ...


Webinar: Closing the Loop: Connecting Class to Campus Sustainability with Cases

  • University of Michigan (MI)
  • AASHE (PA)
  • Sustainability Curriculum Consortium (MD)

This webinar will discuss how multimedia, case-based learning can be used to better engage and inform students regarding sustainability-related efforts on campus and create opportunities to build upon their projects ...

  • Posted Feb. 7, 2020
  • Videos & Webinars
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Frederickson Court Trial Compost System

  • Iowa State University (IA)

With a campus compost facility already in operation, Iowa State University’s Compost Team sought to utilize the facility in more places around campus. The team identified Frederickson (Freddy) Court ...


Webinar: Innovation in Cleaning for Custodians and Students

  • Stanford University (CA)
  • AASHE (PA)

Stanford University’s Residential and Dining Enterprises has adopted a green cleaning standard that has reduced chemical usage in residences by over 90%. The system engineers water by infusing it ...

  • Posted Dec. 12, 2019
  • Videos & Webinars
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Bringing the Circular Economy to Research

  • Rheaply, Inc (IL)

It is estimated that 2% of the world's global plastic waste is linked to laboratory waste- some 6 million tons of waste annually. Given the the existing tools available ...

  • Posted Dec. 6, 2019
  • Conference Presentations
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This tab provides access to data collected through AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS). STARS is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. STARS enables meaningful comparisons over time and across institutions using a common set of measurements developed with broad participation from the campus sustainability community. Additional content and advanced benchmarking tools will be added to this tab over time.

Programs and Initiatives

The following links connect to specific Content Displays on the STARS website (AASHE membership and log-in required).

Scores

The following link connects to the Score Display on the STARS website (AASHE membership and log-in required).

Waste Partners

7 Rivers Recycling

Onalaska, WI
Business Affiliate
7 Rivers Recycling (7RR) is a triple-bottom-line business that recycles mattresses through manual deconstruction.

Busch Systems

Barrie, ON
Business Affiliate

CleanRiver Recycling Solutions

Aurora, ON
Business Affiliate
We design and manufacture containers to specifically suit your needs and then help you implement facility-wide programs that achieve your waste diversion goals and generate recycling program ROI.

Eagle Protect PBC

South Lake Tahoe, CA
Business Affiliate
Eagle Protect helps reduce waste with high-quality disposable gloves and clothing products.

Eco-Products

Boulder, CO
Business Affiliate
Green Is All We Do. A leader in environmentally preferable foodservice packaging.

Foam Cycle LLC

Augusta, NJ
Business Affiliate
Foam Cycle is the first patent-pending foam (aka Styrofoam) collection, densifying and recycling system. Our goal is to assist your school in its sustainability goals or to start a Circular Economy Recycling program.

Landmark Studio & Design

Muskego, WI
Business Affiliate

LRP Recycling

Framingham, MA
Business Affiliate

Max-R

Sussex, WI
Business Affiliate
Max-R is the innovator of the customized waste and recycling bin.

Post-Landfill Action Network

Dover, NH
Business Affiliate
The Post-Landfill Action Network cultivates, educates, and inspires the student-led zero waste movement. We inform students about the waste crisis and equip them with the necessary skills and resources to implement solutions to waste on their campus.

Preserve

Waltham, MA
Business Affiliate
Preserve is a sustainable consumer goods company that produces eco-friendly products using recycled and biodegradable materials.

RRS

Ann Arbor, MI
Business Affiliate
RRS is a sustainability and recycling consulting firm that possess core strengths in recovery, organics and collaborative action development serving both public and private sectors.

The Campus Kitchens Project

Washington, DC
Business Affiliate
Empowering students to create innovative and sustainable solutions to food waste and hunger.