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

924 resources

Turning Trash Into Cash- Sustainable Social Entrepreneurship

  • University of San Diego (CA)

In April 2011, the University of San Diego (USD) opened the Electronics Recycling Center (ERC), San Diego's first full-time e-waste collection facility for the public, with the intention of ...

  • Posted April 12, 2014
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How to Start a Comprehensive Composting and Recycling Program at a Commuter College

  • Austin Community College (TX)

The Austin Community College is committed to promote and practice responsible environmental behavior. ACC has been rolling out numerous green initiatives designed to shrink its environmental footprint and increase the ...

  • Posted April 11, 2014
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UCI Zero Waste Food Court Pilot Program

  • University of California, Irvine (CA)

The University of California, Irvine launched a pilot program for post-consumer waste diversion in retail dining in 2013. The program achieved Zero Waste under the University of California Office of ...

  • Posted March 28, 2014
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Moving towards waste-free Move-out

  • Knox College (IL)

At the end of the school year, Knox college students, faculty, and staff join forces to collect and divert the many streams of resources (formerly classified as waste) generated during ...

  • Posted March 17, 2014
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Take Action on Waste: A Community Based Social Marketing Project in Student Residences

  • University of Alberta (AB)

Take Action on Waste began in 2010 as a project at the University of Alberta that aims to improve waste diversion behaviours in residences. Challenges with infrastructure and education at ...

Food Scraps Recovery at Kean University

  • Kean University (NJ)

Kean University began a comprehensive on-campus food scraps composting project in January 2010. Food scraps are processed in an in-vessel composting system that requires just five days to convert them ...

Sustainable Packaging at the University of Florida

  • University of Florida (FL)

Gator Dining Services-ARAMARK at the University of Florida eliminated foam containers from campus dining operations, making UF the only ARAMARK foam- free dining operation in the south region. Foam products ...

BYU-Idaho Recycling Center Program

  • Brigham Young University, Idaho (ID)

The point of this project was to use the recycling facilities that have been established at BYU-Idaho to partner with the City of Rexburg and expand the recycling program to ...

  • Posted Nov. 19, 2012
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We Conserve: A Campus Wide Campaign

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (WI)

The University of Wisconsin - Madison initiated the aggressive We Conserve program in 2006 to further strengthen its environmental stewardship practices and to promote education and motivation to the community on ...

Recycling, Reuse, and Composting Program: Phase 1

  • University of Rochester (NY)

Until 2008, a formal recycling program did not exist at our University. In order to establish a sustainability program that would expand and thrive, Support Operations implemented Phase 1 of ...

Foam Free Dining at the University of Florida

  • University of Florida (FL)
  • Aramark (PA)

Gator Dining Services at the University of Florida (UF) eliminated foam containers from campus dining operations, making the University of Florida the only ARAMARK foam- free dining operation in the ...

Public-Private Food Waste Composting Program

  • Illinois State University (IL)
  • Rochester Institute of Technology (NY)

The goal of this project was to provide a viable option for businesses and institutions to divert their food waste from the solid waste stream. McLean County is a prime ...

  • Posted June 26, 2012
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Earning Green By Going Green: A Case Study of the Waste Stream at LIU Post

  • LIU Post (NY)

This is a complete analysis of the waste stream at LIU Post, looking at nearly every type of category of waste that we produce. A waste audit was conducted to ...

  • Posted June 11, 2012
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Zero Waste at Ohio Stadium: Lessons Learned and a Beginner's Guide

  • The Ohio State University (OH)

In autumn 2011, The Ohio State University launched the Zero Waste at Ohio Stadium program, becoming the largest stadium in the country to attempt a "zero waste" initiative. Zero waste ...

  • Posted March 13, 2012
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University Recycling at work! Case study in Puerto Rico

  • Ana G. M├⌐ndez University System (PR)

In 2006, Undergraduate Environmental Science students sparked the Recycling Program at the Universidad Metropolitana, Puerto Rico with a simple question "Why we do not recycle at the University?

Since then ...

  • Posted June 23, 2011
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Biomass at Colorado State University: the Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

  • Colorado State University (CO)

In 2009, Colorado State University and the Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) partnered to build a biomass heating plant on the University's Foothills Campus. This facility burns wood chips ...

  • Posted June 16, 2011
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Testing Single Stream Versus Dual Stream Recycling at CU

  • University of Colorado Boulder (CO)

A new single stream recycling program was tested in CU's residence halls and family housing courts during 2009. CU hoped that the added convenience would invigorate participation among the ...

Student and Staff Cooperative Implementation of a Residential Recycling Program at Iowa State University

  • Iowa State University (IA)

The Department of Resdidence (DoR) and student leaders teamed up together to implement a residence hall wide recycling program. The program is intended to reduce waste of recyclables in residence ...

EcoMug at Western Michigan University: The First Decade

  • Western Michigan University (MI)

In 2009, Western Michigan University created a novel, and as far as we know unprecedented, waste reduction initiative. During the first few weeks of school, each incoming student is given ...

Grounds Services Green Waste Re-Use Program at Arizona State University

  • Arizona State University (AZ)

The Grounds Services department initiated a pair of programs that convert ASU's Tempe campus landscape green waste into valuable assets. One program collects green "waste" and sends it to ...

Iowa State University Recycling and Sustainability Program

  • Iowa State University (IA)

The purpose of our project was to create a more sustainable living environment for students living on campus. The effort included creating a convenient, easy to use department wide recycling ...

  • Posted June 30, 2010
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Harvard Medical School Reusable Sharps Container Pilot

  • Harvard University (MA)

In collaboration with Harvard Medical School (HMS) Campus Operations, Environmental Health & Safety, and the Office for Sustainability, two large research buildings constituting HMS' 'North Campus' have fully transitioned from ...

  • Posted June 30, 2010
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Implementing Vermicomposting in Luther College Residence Halls

  • Luther College (IA)

Luther students have started disposing of fruit and vegetable waste in worm composting bins installed in seven of Luther's residence halls by students from the Luther Sustainability program.

Students ...

  • Posted June 30, 2010
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Centralized Recycling Pilot at NYU Stern

  • New York University (NY)

The NYU Stern Campus Greening Initiative, Facilities, Recycling, Sustainability Office and Green Grants teams partnered to run a pilot project aimed at increasing the volume of recycled material at the ...

  • Posted June 30, 2010
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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).


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.