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

942 resources

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 College (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
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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
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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
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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
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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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Leading with Circular Economy Concepts, Business Cases and Tools

  • Stanford University (CA)
  • Cascadia Consulting Group, Inc. (WA)
  • Interface, Inc (GA)

A circular economy is an economic system aimed at minimizing waste and making the most of resources. This regenerative approach (in contrast to the traditional linear economy, which has a ...

  • Posted Dec. 4, 2019
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What Links Climate Change, Biodiversity, Water, and Food Systems? Population

  • Bellevue College (WA)
  • Center for Biological Diversity (AZ)

Human population growth is a main driver of environmental degradation. According to Dr. Wynes (2017) in 'The climate mitigation gap: education and government recommendations miss the most effective individual actions ...

  • Posted Dec. 4, 2019
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What is Old is New Again: Establishing a Free Store in an Urban Environment

  • Virginia Commonwealth University (VA)

During the 2018-2019 academic year, VCU increased tuition by 6.4%. This increase in tuition was unavoidable and was the highest within the state of Virginia. Concurrent with this, VCU ...

  • Posted Dec. 4, 2019
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College & University Recycling Coalition (CURC) Membership Meeting

  • University of South Carolina (SC)

Members and non-members alike are invited to join this annual CURC membership meeting. Board members will provide organizational updates, discuss current projects and share opportunities to get involved. The meeting ...

  • Posted Dec. 4, 2019
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Zero Waste - Rethinking Definitions and Metrics

  • University of California, Office of the President (CA)

The University of California has been undertaking a process of rethinking how we define and measure zero waste. Previous targets had been based on diversion rates; however, we have recently ...

  • Posted Dec. 4, 2019
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Reuse Makes a Comeback: How to Bring the Circular Economy to Asset Management

  • Rheaply, Inc (IL)

Reduce, reuse, recycle. The mantra is ingrained in us from our early childhood, but the attention naturally goes to the first and last R - like a lost middle child. Today ...

  • Posted Dec. 4, 2019
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Bringing Buildings on Board

  • University of Texas at Austin (TX)

Resource Recovery conducts weekly audits with student interns, analyzing office and classroom building waste to paint a picture of over 18,000,000 square feet of campus building space. We ...

  • Posted Dec. 4, 2019
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Zero Waste Versus Energy Conservation: We Can Have Both

  • The Ohio State University (OH)

A recent audit of Ohio State's waste stream found that 10% of our total waste was from used paper towels. In order to address that huge amount, Ohio State ...

  • Posted Dec. 4, 2019
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Recycling Signage Study Group

  • Penn State Harrisburg (PA)
  • Busch Systems (ON)

We know recycling and waste bin signage influences whether people sort items correctly. The question is, what combination of words and images is most effective? The goal of this networking ...

  • Posted Dec. 4, 2019
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Designing Signage to Influence Recycling Behavior

  • Penn State Harrisburg (PA)
  • Busch Systems (ON)

In the face of static diversion rates and pressure to reduce contamination, many schools are experimenting with different bin signage to see what best influences recycling behavior. How do people ...

  • Posted Dec. 4, 2019
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Implementing Composting at Eureka College: Challenges and Successes of Small Campus Composting

  • Eureka College (IL)

Composting systems are slowly becoming a common addition to college and university dining halls and facilities operations across the country, yet smaller campuses with fewer resources face unique challenges in ...

  • Posted Dec. 4, 2019
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A Plan for A Zero-Waste Earlham

  • Earlham College (IN)

This research focused on waste streams at Earlham; specifically, we looked at how to reduce the amount of waste produced on campus and how to improve diversion from landfills. A ...

  • Posted Dec. 4, 2019
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College & University Recycling Coalition (CURC) Campus Recycling Workshop

  • Appalachian State University (NC)
  • Clemson University (SC)

The annual CURC Workshop provides opportunities for attendees to network with Campus Recyclers from around the country, hear presentations from and interact with national experts, and participate in roundtable discussions ...

  • Posted Dec. 4, 2019
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True Zero Waste - The Last 10%

  • College of Charleston (SC)
  • Medical University of South Carolina (SC)
  • University of North Carolina, Wilmington (NC)
  • Eco-Products (CO)

By many definitions, achieving Zero Waste requires a 90% diversion rate of all discarded materials from being land-filled or incinerated. Diverting the last 10% is complex, challenging, and potentially costly ...

  • Posted Dec. 4, 2019
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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)

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 evolve its program ...

  • Posted Dec. 4, 2019
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Closed-Loop Mechanical Recycling of Polylactic Acid Filament in 3D Printing Labs

  • University of California, Berkeley (CA)

3D Printing has furthered innovation at UC Berkeley by providing access to new research methods and tools. However, considering the benefits of 3D printing, the large amount of plastic waste ...

  • Posted Dec. 4, 2019
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EcoCoin Program as an Effective Alternative to Banning Plastic Bags

  • University of Connecticut (CT)

On a small scale, localized bans and ordinances against single use plastic bags present many challenges: How will it impact local businesses' bottom line? Will customers go elsewhere? Who enforces ...

  • Posted Dec. 4, 2019
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Sustainable Economy in Labs: I2SL's Landfill Diversion Working Group Pursues Upstream Dysfunction

  • Emory University (GA)
  • University of Georgia (GA)

Researcher time is for research! Join us in calling for upstream innovations to build a circular economy and protect valuable scholar time! Achieving sustainability in laboratory settings with regard to ...

  • Posted Dec. 4, 2019
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Our Community Composting Project

  • University of Louisville (KY)

The University of Louisville Community Composting Project has been creating compost with and for the community for the past ten years. Sourcing our organic material from local coffee shops, restaurants ...

  • Posted Dec. 4, 2019
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Worm Poop Creates Sustainable Economy!

  • University of Louisville (KY)

After almost fifteen years of trying to turn worm poop into sustainable community and economy, the good news is that this is possible. It's a good deal of work ...

  • Posted Dec. 4, 2019
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MOVING to Zero Waste: Diverting from Res Hall Move-Out Using Community Resources and Partnerships

  • The Ohio State University (OH)

Residence halls across the United States struggle with the amount of waste that is left behind by students when they leave for the summer, particularly at large, midwestern research institutions ...

  • Posted Dec. 4, 2019
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Outdoor Waste Receptacle Removal: A Creative Approach to Waste Management

  • Indiana University Bloomington (IN)

Institutions across the country have found success in strategically phasing out outdoor waste receptacles and focusing their waste efforts on the management of indoor waste streams. Though perhaps counterintuitive to ...

  • Posted Dec. 4, 2019
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Weigh the Waste: Assessing Food Waste at Winthrop University

  • Winthrop University (SC)

Food waste makes up nearly half of all municipal solid waste produced in the United States. EPA estimates that 40% of all food produced for human consumption is wasted. The ...

  • Posted Dec. 4, 2019
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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

Medway, 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.