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

650 resources

Best Practices for Minimizing Waste on College and University Campuses

  • Johnson County Community College (KS)
  • Texas State University, San Marcos (TX)
  • Staples Business Advantage (MA)

With institutions scoring an average score of 1 point in waste reduction and diversion, there is tremendous room for improvement and institutions across the country are looking for ways to ...

  • Posted Dec. 1, 2017
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Galvanizing Student Power for Intersectional Sustainability Efforts

  • Post Landfill Action Network (NH)

A diversity of perspectives leads to more effective problem-solving. So when we talk about Zero Waste on college campuses, how do we bring different perspectives to the decision-making table? It ...

  • Posted Dec. 1, 2017
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A Zero Waste Campus is Possible

  • Post Landfill Action Network (NH)

We begin by asking students to envision a zero waste campus through innovative problem solving and logistics management. In small groups, they map out how to prevent specific forms of ...

  • Posted Dec. 1, 2017
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Beyond Diversion - Finding Better Tools to Measure Zero Waste

  • Post Landfill Action Network (NH)

While diversion has been the go-to metric for evaluating waste reduction efforts, it skips over several levels of the waste reduction hierarchy. We end up prioritizing our recycling and composting ...

  • Posted Dec. 1, 2017
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Expanding the Horizons of Campus Recycling: Addressing Expanded Polystyrene Waste at Three Institutions of Higher Education

  • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (IL)
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (WI)
  • Washington University in St. Louis (MO)

College and university campuses strive to minimize waste and promote thoughtful disposal practices among campus residents. However, one material that presents unique challenges to sustainably manage is expanded polystyrene (EPS ...

  • Posted Dec. 1, 2017
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Refillable water bottles, reusable bags, and bicycle lights: Is sustainability swag sustainable?

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (WI)

When students arrive on your campus, perhaps they find a refillable water bottle in their residence hall room. Or at new student orientation, perhaps they receive a reusable bag with ...

  • Posted Dec. 1, 2017
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RecycleMania's Race to Zero Waste

  • Brigham Young University (UT)
  • Keep America Beautiful (CT)
  • Aquinas College (MI)

A review of participation and analysis of data from the first full year of RecycleMania's Race to Zero Waste. In it's first year as a formal competition category ...

  • Posted Dec. 1, 2017
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Jumping Through Hoops for Zero-Waste

  • University of Arizona (AZ)
  • University of Denver (CO)

This presentation will guide students in how to work with different levels of administration like Athletics, Facilities, Sodexo, and sports fans. Often as students, it's hard to make connections ...

  • Posted Dec. 1, 2017
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Throwing in the Towel: Lessons Learned from Launching a Paper Towel Compost Program

  • Austin Community College (TX)

Waste diversion is a common thread woven throughout Austin Community College District's sustainability goals. With 11 current campus locations and new facilities added continuously, the footprint of the district ...

  • Posted Dec. 1, 2017
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Food Waste Interventions

  • Georgia Southern University (GA)
  • Portland State University (OR)
  • Sodexo (FL)

Information will be shared about Portland State's No Scraps Left Behind (NSLB) program at the PSU Dining Hall, the residential compost program, donations to PSU's food pantry, & ...

  • Posted Dec. 1, 2017
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Surplus Assets Deserve to be Reused, Not Discarded

  • Colorado State University (CO)
  • Western Kentucky University (KY)
  • IRN - The Recycling Network (NH)

Every school generates surplus assets, every day. Computers, dorm and classroom furniture, supplies, desks and chairs, bookcases and storage shelves. The list is endless. Sadly, even though they have years ...

  • Posted Dec. 1, 2017
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Comparing Move Out Programs: Sharing Perspectives on Waste Diversion, Campus & Community Collaboration, & Sustainability Goals.

  • Colorado State University (CO)
  • University of Iowa (IA)
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (WI)
  • Wilfrid Laurier University (ON)

Be part of an interactive discussion where 4 universities share their move out program from the perspectives of Housing, Sustainability, Facilities & Surplus & learn ways to advance sustainability, reuse ...

  • Posted Dec. 1, 2017
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Best Practices for Supporting Campus Food Security

  • Arizona State University (AZ)
  • Southern Illinois University Carbondale (IL)
  • University of Utah (UT)

Hunger is present on college campuses across the United States. As literature increases, awareness surrounding challenges in supporting severely food insecure college students has become more apparent, as well. This ...

  • Posted Dec. 1, 2017
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Oregon State U Reusable Food To Go Containers

  • Oregon State University (OR)

Oregon State University has fully transitioned to reusable to go containers, saving over 400,000 disposable containers per year from the landfill.


Oregon State U Reusable Food To Go Containers

  • Oregon State University (OR)

Oregon State University has fully transitioned to reusable to go containers, saving over 400,000 disposable containers per year from the landfill.


UVM Eco-Reps educate peers about composting

  • University of Vermont (VT)

All University of Vermont undergraduates now take at least one sustainability course, and 20 Eco-Reps extend that educational experience by teaching their peers sustainable behaviors as part of daily life ...


Full Circle Composting

  • Central Michigan University (MI)

Southern Illinois University water bottle fill stations

  • Southern Illinois University Carbondale (IL)

With support from the campus green fund, Southern Illinois University Carbondale recently installed 27 water bottle fill stations in various buildings around campus in efforts to reduce consumption of single-use ...


Closed Loop Composting at Central Michigan University

  • Central Michigan University (MI)

Through its commitment to utilizing organic waste as a valuable resource, Central Michigan University engages in a full-circle, closed system composting program that also promotes economic prosperity. Material from compost ...


Stanford 2017 Lab Swap Meet

  • Stanford University (CA)

Stanford hosts a biannual lab swap meet that invites lab users to donate items no longer needed for their own research and find items of use donated by others.


NAU - Sustainable Campus Index - Bookstore Bag Pictures

  • Northern Arizona University (AZ)

Northern Arizona University’s Bookstore (operated by Follett) is the latest concessionaire to stop handing out plastic bags for retail operations, opting instead for a more environmentally friendly paper bag ...


Sustainability Scholar 2016 - University of Alberta

  • University of Alberta (AB)

The Sustainability Scholars program provides University of Alberta graduate students opportunities to work on applied research projects with the City of Edmonton, campus units and other institutions. Successful projects provide ...


Campus and Community Involvement in Move-Out Programs

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (WI)
  • Wilfrid Laurier University (ON)
  • AASHE (PA)

Classes end and our students vacate the rooms in their residence halls, cleaning up so that other students may become the new occupants. In the process, students discard lots of ...

  • Posted Sept. 22, 2017
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Going Green and Using Less Paper to Print Exams: Student Performance, Completion Time, and Preference

  • Providence College (RI)

Two studies measured the impact on student exam performance and exam completion time of strategies aimed to reduce the amount of paper used for printing multiple-choice course exams. Study 1 ...

  • Posted Sept. 20, 2017
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Solid waste characterization and recycling potential for a university campus

Integrated waste management systems are one of the greatest challenges for sustainable development. For these systems to be successful, the first step is to carry out waste characterization studies. In ...

  • Posted Sept. 20, 2017
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Greening academia: Use and disposal of mobile phones among university students

  • University of Southampton

Mobile phones have relatively short lifecycles and are rapidly seen as obsolete by many users within little over a year. However, the reusability of these devices as well as their ...

  • Posted Sept. 20, 2017
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University community responses to on-campus resource recycling

  • Massey University

In order to gain a better understanding of the attitudes and behaviour of a campus community toward a university concourse-based recycling scheme, a survey of 1400 students and staff, at ...

  • Posted Sept. 5, 2017
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Community responses to the removal of bottled water on a university campus

Purpose

This paper aimed to examine the impact of the removal of bottled water on the campus community. This paper presents the findings of a survey conducted at the first ...

  • Posted Aug. 28, 2017
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Impact on Plate Waste of Switching from a Tray to a Trayless Delivery System in a University Dining Hall and Employee Response to the Switch

  • Indiana University Bloomington (IN)

A potential strategy for decreasing food waste in foodservice operations is trayless dining. The objective of this 2010 study was to compare the impact of using a tray vs a ...

  • Posted Aug. 18, 2017
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Paper Reduction at the University of Washington

  • University of Washington, Seattle (WA)
  • University of Washington, Bothell (WA)
  • University of Washington, Tacoma (WA)

The University of Washington is committed to reducing paper consumption at the university and using paper made from recycled content when necessary. Learn more about why that's important with ...

  • Posted Aug. 17, 2017
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Marine Debris & Plastic Source Reduction Toolkit for Colleges & Universities

  • University of California, San Francisco (CA)
  • University of California, Santa Barbara (CA)
  • University of California, San Diego (CA)
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (DC)

EPA, the Product Stewardship Institute, and the University of California collaborated on this toolkit to help college campuses and other institutions cut their plastic waste and reduce marine debris and ...

  • Posted Aug. 17, 2017
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Fix It Friday promotional flyer

  • Illinois State University (IL)

University Campus Solid Waste Management: Combining Life Cycle Assessment and Analytical Hierarchy Process

  • University of Malaya

This volume provides a comprehensive method for optimizing solid waste management practices and procedures at college and university campuses through the use of cluster analysis to combine Life Cycle Assessment ...

  • Posted Aug. 14, 2017
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How Federal Programs and Partnerships can Help Reduce Wasted Food on Campuses

  • Central Michigan University (MI)
  • AASHE (PA)
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (DC)

Food is the single largest waste stream sent to landfills and incinerators each year in the United States –over 70 billion pounds, which accounts for 21 percent of Americans’ everyday ...

  • Posted July 25, 2017
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Spatial characterization and analysis of the campus residential waste stream at a small private Liberal Arts Institution

The generation and management of solid waste on college campuses have presented challenges to pursuing institutional sustainability. Characterizing, analyzing, and understanding the composition of a campus’ residential waste stream is ...

  • Posted June 20, 2017
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The relationship between university students’ environmental identity, decision-making process, and behavior

Environmental education scholars have argued for the need to focus on identity as a more predictive factor than attitude of individuals’ environmental behavior. We examine individuals’ decision-making as a mediating ...


Full Service Organics

  • St. John's University, New York (NY)

In the Full Service Organics documentary video, St. john's University, New York (SJU) has documented its efforts of student engagement in fighting hunger and waste, and making compost from ...

  • Posted May 22, 2017
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Branding our Waste: Creating College-Specific Recycling Signage through Collaboration

  • Red River College (MB)

In an ongoing effort to improve the effectiveness of our waste and recycling programs, Red River College set about redesigning our hallway waste and recycling signage (Pitch In signs) in ...


Promoting Sustainability through Coordination of Campus-Wide Conservation Practices

  • University of South Alabama (AL)

While the University of South Alabama (USA) has a long history of independent sustainability ventures, it is only in last 18 months that sustainability as a program has become a ...


Transforming Campus Food Service with Anytime Dining

  • University of Maryland, College Park (MD)

The Department of Dining Services at University of Maryland (UMD) set a goal to change the student culture and experience on campus through the Anytime Dining residential dining program. The ...


Environmental and Economic Perspectives in the Analysis of Two Options for Hand Drying At an University Campus

Environmental criteria can be part of global energy policies for the establishment of support and development actions for different technologies. Minimization of greenhouse gas emissions is a benefit to all ...


Cowbell Cleanup

  • Mississippi State University (MS)

Cowbell Cleanup is an initiative that was started by the Office of Sustainability on Mississippi State University's campus. The University faces a large influx of guests during home football ...


NC State University Achieves 95 Percent Diversion With Building Deconstruction

  • North Carolina State University (NC)

Harrelson Hall, the first round classroom building constructed on a university campus, was deconstructed in 2016 and NC State University exceeded its waste diversion goal, diverting 95 percent of non-hazardous ...


Fix It Friday

  • Illinois State University (IL)

Fix It Friday is a program in which fashion students set up sewing machines in various places within the Illinois State University campus and the surrounding Bloomington-Normal community and offer ...


Zero Waste Guide and the Good Food Festival Case Study

  • University of Illinois at Chicago (IL)

Throughout the semester, Joe Iosbaker, UIC's Recycling Coordinator and Office of Sustainability (OS) staff member, and Ula Renetskis, Office of Sustainability Intern and author, have been working with Bright ...


Oregon State U Fully Transitions to Reusable Food To Go Containers

  • Oregon State University (OR)

The "Eco2Go" food container program at Oregon State University (OSU) Housing & Dining Services (UHDS) has eliminated all but a few specialized uses of disposable take-out containers within dining services ...


University of California, Climate Lab, Video Series Episode Four: Food waste is the world's dumbest problem

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

This is the fourth episode of Climate Lab, a six-part series produced by the University of California in partnership with Vox. Hosted by Emmy-nominated conservation scientist Dr. M. Sanjayan, the ...

  • Posted May 15, 2017
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Questions of Waste

  • The University of Georgia (GA)

A unique and creative video documenting the waste habits of one student for a week. The video documents a friend of the videographer as she collects her waste for one ...

  • Posted May 15, 2017
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The Drivers Behind Edible Food Recovery Programs at Institutions of Higher Education

  • Messiah College (PA)

Food waste is a multi-faceted issue that affects societies on a social, economic, and environmental level. In 2014, more than 38 million tons of food were thrown away in the ...


Simon Fraser University’s Zero Waste Initiative

  • Simon Fraser University (BC)

SFU was one of the first universities to implement a standardized, 4-stream Zero Waste system (including composting) uniformly across all three of its campuses, each of which lies in a ...

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

Pharos Systems International

Rochester, NY
Business Leader
A certified B Corp, Pharos helps universities reveal wasteful habits and hidden costs making campus printing less expensive, more mindful, and more sustainable.

Busch Systems

Barrie, ON
Business Supporter

Veritiv

Sandy Springs, GA
Business Supporter

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.

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.

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.

Textbooks for Change

Toronto, ON
Business Affiliate
Textbooks for Change sustainably provides educational material to those both locally and abroad.

The Campus Kitchens Project

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