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

946 resources

SCI - Waste - UCCS

  • University of Colorado Colorado Springs (CO)
  • Waste Management (TX)

Students volunteer at the annual Mt. Trashmore event. This event provides a visual display of a day's worth of campus trash, which is then sorted to determine how much ...

  • Posted Sept. 23, 2016
  • Photographs
  • View more

Greenhealth Cost of Ownership (GCO) Calculator

  • Practice Greenhealth (VA)

Total cost of ownership (TCO) is a way for purchasers to assess all the costs associated with a product over its lifetime - from initial purchase through its use, maintenance, and ...

University at Albany Trashion Fashion show

  • University at Albany (NY)

This is a picture of our Trashion Fashion award winners. Trashion Fashion is the annual centerpiece event of Recyclemania. The Office of Sustainability partners with the Office of Residential Life ...

  • Posted Sept. 12, 2016
  • Photographs
  • View more

EMC 2016 summer ANR team created several short focused videos about recycling and composting intiatives

  • Champlain College (VT)

The Emergent Media Center (EMC) is a Center of Excellence at Champlain College. We hire students to work on projects, the students work with the clients, work under deadlines utilizing ...

  • Posted Sept. 12, 2016
  • Photographs
  • View more

Waste Minimization at Mohawk College

  • Mohawk College (ON)

Mohawk College campuses feature two-stream waste receptacles throughout grounds and outdoor spaces to encourage recycling.

Mohawk College’s pan-campus electronic waste and battery recycling program collects tens of thousands of ...

  • Posted Sept. 12, 2016
  • Photographs
  • View more

2016 LIU Post Sustainability Award Recipients

  • LIU Post (NY)

This is a photo of LIU Post's 2016 campus sustainability award recipients and our guest speaker, L. Hunter Lovins. Each spring, LIU Post hosts a sustainability banquet to showcase ...

  • Posted Sept. 12, 2016
  • Photographs
  • View more

Working with vegetables, mulch and compost at the Guilford College Farm

  • Guilford College (NC)

Student at event recycling station

  • Babson College (MA)

Student at zero waste station at Babson College's From Day One Fest event

Nursing students’ attitudes towards sustainability and health care

  • University of Plymouth (Devon)


To evaluate attitudes towards embedding sustainability and climate change in nursing curricula among nursing students, some of whom had participated in a sustainability and health skills session, and determine ...

  • Posted Aug. 24, 2016
  • Publications
  • View more

Water bottle ban a success; bottled beverage sales have plummeted

  • Washington University in St. Louis (MO)

Sales of bottled beverages at Washington University in St. Louis have plummeted 39 percent since 2009, when the university became the first in the nation to ban the sale of ...

  • Posted Aug. 19, 2016
  • Publications
  • View more

Campus Environmental Resource Center (CampusERC)

  • APPA: Leadership in Educational Facilities (VA)
  • Campus Consortium for Environmental Excellence (MA)
  • National Association of College & University Business Officers (NACUBO) (DC)
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (DC)
  • Campus Safety, Health, and Environmental Management Association (IN)

The Campus Environmental Resource Center - CampusERC - is a library of resources to support campus environmental performance improvement. Developed collaboratively by NACUBO, C2E2, CSHEMA, APPA and the EPA, the primary audience ...

Environmental Compliance Assistance Guide for Colleges and Universities

  • APPA: Leadership in Educational Facilities (VA)
  • Campus Safety, Health, and Environmental Management Association (IN)

This second edition of Environmental Compliance Assistance Guide for Colleges and Universities updates the key environmental rules and regulations affecting physical surroundings of our campuses. Facilities and campus safety professional ...

  • Posted July 21, 2016
  • Publications
  • View more

Recycling as a result of “cultural greening”?

  • Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick Campus (NJ)
  • The College of New Jersey (NJ)

Purpose This study aims to test whether faculty and students who have developed the most pro-environmental values and concerns are also the most likely to reduce the on-campus waste stream ...

  • Posted July 18, 2016
  • Publications
  • View more

Recycling at Institutions of Higher Education: Causal Conditions for Disparate Performance and Opportunity for Reform

  • Texas Tech University (TX)

Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) are viewed as analogous to small cities because of similarities in organizational structure and operational procedures. The existing literature on sustainability in higher education lacks ...

Go Green at Oakton

  • Oakton Community College (IL)

Created in house by our Media Services Department, this video was developed as an introduction of sustainable initiatives at Oakton Community College to students and campus visitors. We focused on ...

  • Posted July 1, 2016
  • Videos & Webinars
  • View more

ReCycle Bikes

  • Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TX)

ReCycle Bikes is a bike rental program designed to allow students, who demonstrate a need, access to free, eco-friendly transportation in exchange for sustainability project-related volunteer hours and peer-to-peer education ...

  • Posted June 11, 2016
  • Case Studies
  • View more

UW Admissions Modernization and Paper Reduction

  • University of Washington, Seattle (WA)

After years of planning, the University of Washington’s Admissions Office switched to paperless digital admissions process for most prospective students in 2015, with plans to expand it to all ...

  • Posted June 11, 2016
  • Case Studies
  • View more

The Sustainable Office Program - SOP

  • California State University, Northridge (CA)

The Sustainable Office Program (SOP) is designed to assess department offices all over campus and categorize each office into four levels of sustainability. The four levels are Bronze, Silver, Gold ...

  • Posted June 11, 2016
  • Case Studies
  • View more

Implementing Single Stream Recycling at Bryant University

  • Bryant University (RI)

The problem is that students don’t understand what single stream recycling is, and as freshman students enter Bryant University they are taught to throw both their trash and recycling ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
  • Case Studies
  • View more

RIT FoodShare

  • Rochester Institute of Technology (NY)

RIT FoodShare is an initiative on the RIT campus that has been established to address food insecurity and food waste. It is both a campus food pantry and a facebook ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
  • Case Studies
  • View more

Integrated educational food garden and composting

  • California State University, Northridge (CA)

Striving towards zero waste and with a close-the-loop philosophy, CSUN students are diverting over 35,000 pounds of pre-consumer waste/year and turning it back into food via an on ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
  • Case Studies
  • View more

Composting for a Greener Campus: the Texas State University Bobcat Blend program

  • Texas State University, San Marcos (TX)

Bobcat Blend is a faculty managed, student-run and grant-supported research and teaching-oriented waste management campus composting program at Texas State University. The goals of the organization are to teach students ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
  • Case Studies
  • View more

Zero Waste Game Day at Duke University

  • Duke University (NC)

Leading up to the 2014 Duke Football season, a formal partnership was created between Duke Athletics, Duke Recycling, Duke Stores, and the Duke Sustainability Office in order to successfully achieve ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
  • Case Studies
  • View more

UW–Madison Receipt Reduction Project

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (WI)

Over a span of two years, teams of students, faculty, and staff at the University of Wisconsin–Madison eliminated mandatory receipt printing at campus dining centers, restaurants, markets, and cafes ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
  • Case Studies
  • View more

Bagging the Disposable Plastic Bag

  • Case Western Reserve University (OH)
  • Bon Appétit Management Company

The Student Sustainability Council at Case Western Reserve University removed disposable plastic bags from campus dining locations and replaced them with reusable bags.

  • Posted June 10, 2016
  • Case Studies
  • View more

Changing Norms by Changing Behavior: The Princeton Drink Local Program

  • Princeton University (NJ)

Unprecedented levels of global bottled water consumption present a major challenge for the environment and water conservation initiatives. Educational institutions are in a unique position to promote conservation behavior by ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
  • Publications
  • View more

Brown's- A California Cafe

  • University of California, Berkeley (CA)

This August, Cal Dining opened brown’s- a california café. By design, over 80% of the ingredients used are sourced locally from within 250 miles of the UC Berkeley campus ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
  • Case Studies
  • View more

Ohio University Move-Out Sustainability Project

  • Ohio University (OH)

Each year during student Move Out week, Ohio University's Department of Recycling and Zero Waste partners with the City of Athens, Athens Hocking Recycling Center, local businesses, community non-profit ...

Recycle Your Plastics

  • American Chemistry Council (DC)

RecycleYourPlastics.org is an easy to use resource on plastics recycling for recycling professionals. The site includes resources such as user-friendly tips and tools, best practices, ready access to experts ...

Development of a Novel Food Waste Collection Kiosk and Waste-to-Energy Business Model

  • University of Toledo (OH)

The US generates more than 37 million metric tons of food waste each year and over 95% of it is disposed of at US landfills. This paper describes the development ...

Love Food, Hate Waste: Analyzing Food Waste and Reduction at Rice University

  • Rice University (TX)

It is known that about 30% of food produced worldwide is ultimately wasted (Gunders 2012). Rice University is not immune to this phenomenon, and past research has shown that Rice ...

Quantifying the components of the mass and energy balance of a black soldier fly (BSF) food waste composting system

  • Rochester Institute of Technology (NY)

Project Description:

An academic institution represents a constrained system that generates a consistent amount of waste. Bioconversion of organic food waste with Black solider fly (Hermetia illucens;Diptera: Stratiomyidae) larave ...

Unifying Campus Efforts in Pursuit of Green Restaurant Certification at UC Irvine's East Food Court

  • University of California, Irvine (CA)

UC Irvine's East Food Court became a Certified Green Restaurant on November 5, 2015 and upgraded its certification from 2-Star to 3-Star on April 22, 2016 through significant interdepartmental ...

From in-vessel campus composting to sustainable urban farming: connecting science with education and community service

  • Kean University (NJ)

Kean University runs a food scrap composting program with a custom-designed in-vessel composter capable of composting up to 1000 pounds of food scraps per day. It diverts food scraps from ...

Stash It, Don’t Trash It Move-Out Reuse Initiative

  • College of Saint Benedict (MN)

As the semester nears its end, students from all over campus pitch their unwanted items to the curb. These items range from unopened soup cans to couches and mini fridges ...

Grizz's Garage: Dorm Item Resale

  • University of Puget Sound (WA)

During Spring Move-Out, students donate their unwanted but still usable dorm items, such as shower caddies, rugs, and hangers, and then the items are re-sold to first-year students during Fall ...

One-Class-One-Project: Using service learning to engage students in sustainability

  • Florida Gulf Coast University (FL)

The University Colloquium is the sustainability capstone to the Florida Gulf Coast University experiences that utilizes service learning as a tool to engage students in experiential learning within the community ...

Map More, Waste Less: A Study in How GIS Helps Texas A&M Prevent Waste

  • Texas A&M University (TX)


During the Spring of 2016, the Texas A&M Geography Society, a student organization that performs undergraduate Geographic Information Systems (GIS) research, set out to help SSC Services for Education ...

Boston University Zero Waste Commencement

  • Aramark (PA)

Boston University is a private research institution located in Boston, Massachusetts with approximately 33,000 undergradate and graduate students. During Commencement week, Boston University Dining Services/Aramark serves more than ...

Reusable water bottle for incoming freshmen

  • University of Michigan (MI)

Reusable water bottles are being provided to all incoming freshmen at the University of Michigan as a Planet Blue Sustainability initiative. The project was piloted for 3 years and is ...

What’s Wrong with the Tap? Examining Perceptions of Tap Water and Bottled Water at Purdue University

  • Saint Mary's University of Minnesota (MN)
  • Purdue University (IN)

The environmental impacts of bottled water prompted us to explore drinking water choices at Purdue University, located in West Lafayette, IN. A random sample of 2,045 Purdue University students ...

UC Irvine Styrofoam Recycling Pilot Program

  • University of California, Irvine (CA)

As UC Irvine strives to become a Zero Waste campus by 2020, the Facilities Management Sustainability Team of student workers has become more innovative in the ways to divert materials ...

Leading by Collaboration: Institutional composting on a non-residential campus

  • Johnson County Community College (KS)

JCCC's composting initiatives have changed operational practices and enriched campus culture in many ways. Those directly involved in our composting work are passionate about reducing food waste, handling it ...

The Sustainable Bookstore: Giving New Life to Discarded University Library Books

  • Appalachian State University (NC)

When the Appalachian State University library culled its stacks, close to 80,000 books were slated to be recycled. Many of these books, some dating back to the late 1800s ...

Student Sustainability Sculptures Contest

  • Johnson County Community College (KS)

Beginning in 2011, Johnson County Community College art faculty member Mark Cowardin assigned his Sculpture II students a project requiring the design, proposal, planning, and installation of a public art ...

SRU Earth Days 2016

  • Slippery Rock University (PA)

“Earth Days 2016” was Slippery Rock University’s annual Earth Day celebration involving fun and educational events aimed at increasing awareness and knowledge regarding sustainability, climate change, and preserving resources ...

NC State University Students Leverage Partnerships To Eliminate Plastic Bags on Campus

  • North Carolina State University (NC)

Over a three-year period, the NC State Stewards collaborated with the university’s Campus Enterprises division to move toward the elimination of single-use plastic bags in the most wasteful locations ...

UMass New2U Reuse Collection and Tag Sale

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst (MA)

New2U is a student-led program that is in its 3rd year of operation. New2U collects unwanted items from across campus each spring during move-out and resells these collected item each ...

Warriors Don’t Waste: Improving the Waste Stream at Eastern Connecticut State University.

  • Eastern Connecticut State University (CT)

In early 2015 Eastern’s Green Campus Committee started to tackle the major initiative of improving the campus waste stream. In taking on this project the committee knew that there ...

Implementing sustainability education with undergraduate business courses, A case study

  • Alfred State College (NY)

The purpose of this submission is to discuss experiential learning related to strategic management and environmental sustainability. The paper outlines one case of implementing project-based sustainability education within the BUAD ...

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).


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.


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

Medway, MA
Business Affiliate


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.


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


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.