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

The Power of Process: Thoughtful Engagement for Successful Projects

  • Brown University (RI)
  • GreenerU (MA)

You probably know best practices in, say, composting. Maybe you have researched the best compost haulers, how composting food can reduce GHG emissions, and how it saves water and energy ...

  • Posted Nov. 5, 2018
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From 'Fix it Fest' to Fix it First: Nurturing a Campus Culture of Reuse

  • Western Kentucky University (KY)

Student accessibility to sustainable living resources is an absolute priority at any university. We want students to not only recycle, but also reduce and reuse what they have in order ...

  • Posted Nov. 5, 2018
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The Intersectionality of the Arts and Environmental Activism

  • University of Denver (CO)

At the University of Denver, the Center for Sustainability has established a Zero Waste Program at all sports games, and the average diversion rate of waste from landfill is approximately ...

  • Posted Nov. 5, 2018
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Community-Driven Reuse Initiatives

  • Flower City Pickers (NY)

This session will explore examples where waste, whether that is food, electronics, clothing, and more are recovered and either resold or redistributed by creating and leveraging purpose-driven communities. It explores ...

  • Posted Nov. 5, 2018
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Student Oriented Sustainability Projects on a Small Educational Campus

  • State University of New York at Canton (NY)

In learning about sustainability practices, students acquire more knowledge through an active process of engagement, by constructing new ideas and working on projects, rather than traditional teaching practices such as ...

  • Posted Nov. 5, 2018
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Using the Campus as a Living Laboratory: The Think 80:20 Recycling Program at Deerfield Academy

  • Deerfield Academy (MA)

Many institutions struggle to integrate recycling and organics collections broadly across their campuses. In 2013, Deerfield Academy re-booted its traditional recycling program and began to implement composting out into the ...

  • Posted Nov. 5, 2018
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#stopsucking: Leveraging Coalitions to Turn #strawlesssummer into an Endless Summer

  • College of Charleston (SC)

Approximately 630000 straws are used daily in Charleston, South Carolina. This single-use plastic often finds its way to the environment. Local branches of national organizations such as Surfrider, Lonely Whale ...

  • Posted Nov. 5, 2018
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Meeting the food waste challenge in higher education

  • Montana State University (MT)

Food waste represents a major sustainability challenge with environmental, economic, social and health implications. Institutions of higher education contribute to generating food waste while serving as models in championing sustainability ...

  • Posted Oct. 23, 2018
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Food Recovery At UIC

  • University of Illinois at Chicago (IL)

At the University of Illinois at Chicago's (UIC) dining facilities, there is much food that is prepared but not eaten. It goes to the landfill, but it could be ...

  • Posted Aug. 10, 2018
  • Case Studies
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Meeting the food waste challenge in higher education

  • Montana State University (MT)

Purpose: Food waste represents a major sustainability challenge with environmental, economic, social and health implications. Institutions of higher education contribute to generating food waste while serving as models in championing ...

  • Posted Aug. 10, 2018
  • Publications
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UConn ECOCoin Program

  • University of Connecticut (CT)

In 2017, the University of Connecticut bookstore rolled out its ECOCoin initiative, through which customers are given an ECOCoin each time they forfeit a plastic bag at the register. The ...

Emerson College Food Cam

  • Emerson College (MA)

The Emerson College Food Cam is a counter with camera mount that allows members of the campus community to share leftover food with others. Often used by campus catering, donors ...

University of Pittsburgh BYO[Bag] Program

  • University of Pittsburgh (PA)

The University of Pittsburgh BYO[Bag] (Bring Your Own Bag) program launched through Pitt Housing & Dining in 2014 after more than five years of student initiatives to reduce plastic ...

University of Dayton Composting Bins

  • University of Dayton (OH)

Students in the University of Dayton Hanley Sustainability Institute built two 4’x6’ bins to compost campus food.

Food Waste Composting Bin Construction

  • University of Dayton (OH)

Student leaders in the University of Dayton Hanley Sustainability Institute work with campus Master Carpenter to build two 4’x6’ bins to compost campus food waste.

Food Waste Composting Bin Construction

  • University of Dayton (OH)

Student leaders in the University of Dayton Hanley Sustainability Institute are building two 4’x6’ bins to compost campus food waste.

Johnson County Community College Green Circle Certification in Cosmetology

  • Johnson County Community College (KS)

In February 2017, Johnson County Community College’s Center for Sustainability began to develop a certification protocol for the campus’ cosmetology program to become Green Circle certified. This third-party certification ...

University of Dayton Composting and Recycling Bins

  • University of Dayton (OH)

The University of Dayton places composting and recycling bins outside dining facilities on campus to encourage composting and recycling and diverting “trash” from landfills.

University of Dayton Composting Bins

  • University of Dayton (OH)

Students in the University of Dayton Hanley Sustainability Institute built two 4’x6’ bins to compost campus food and plastic.

10% Discount on Yale School of Public Health's Climate Change & Health Certificate for AASHE members

  • Yale University (CT)

Students, staff and faculty at AASHE higher education institutions are eligible for a 10% discount off an 18-week online certificate giving you tools to address the health impacts of climate ...

Reduce the Juice: How to Run a Waste Sprint

  • University of London

This communications plan aims to assist universities that are looking to run residence hall sustainability engagement program. It’s designed for running a waste reduction sprint, but could be used ...

Beyond Diversion: Qualitative Data to Measure Zero Waste Efforts

  • Carleton College (MN)
  • AASHE (PA)
  • Post-Landfill Action Network (NH)

Absence of a streamlined and holistic framework through which to measure and communicate waste reduction efforts has Zero Waste loosely defined among colleges and universities. This issue is aggravated by ...

  • Posted May 25, 2018
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Project Delta

  • University of Texas at El Paso (TX)
  • Engineers for a Sustainable World (CO)

Project Delta was created by ESW-UTEP to evaluate and enhance The University of Texas at El Paso's (UTEP's) current recycling system. This project is expected to be finalized ...

Creating a Composting Culture at Colorado State University

  • Colorado State University (CO)

As Colorado State University (CSU) students, many of us were drawn to this school because of its unique ability to institutionalize sustainability. However, during our time here, we have often ...

Project Juarez

  • University of Texas at El Paso (TX)
  • Engineers for a Sustainable World (CO)

When our phones are no longer aesthetically pleasing, we tend to either disregard or throw away our phones. The question is why? Essentially, we are throwing away a small computer ...


  • Princeton University (NJ)

This semester, Princeton's EcoReps launched “Mend Monday,” a bi-weekly clothing repair initiative in Frist Campus Center. Cecilia Shang '18 and Nico Viglucci '17, the group's organizers, believe that ...

Ditch the Disposables

  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute (MA)

Ditch the Disposables is a WPI student-run campaign that was started in 2016 to reduce single-use plastic items at WPI. The project began with a reusable container program in the ...

Plastic Entanglements: Ecology, Aesthetics, Materials

  • Pennsylvania State University (PA)

The exhibition, PLASTIC ENTANGLEMENTS: Ecology, Aesthetics, Materials was on view at Penn State’s Palmer Museum of Art from February 13, 2018 to June 17, 2018 with additional commissioned and ...

Loyola University Chicago Biodiesel Program

  • Loyola University Chicago (IL)

The Biodiesel Program, part of the Searle Center for Sustainability Innovations in Loyola’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability, saw its humble beginnings grow from an ingenious student idea to one ...

The Nova Scotia Community College’s (NSCC) Waste Management Improvement Project

  • Nova Scotia Community College (NS)

The project began with waste audits to establish a baseline of NSCC’s waste management practices and to try and improve them. From there it progressed into education efforts at ...

Stanford R&DE Student Housing Innovation in Cleaning

  • Stanford University (CA)

Stanford’s R&DE Student Housing Operations (SHO) adopted a green cleaning standard that has reduced chemical usage in residences by over 90%. The system engineer's water by infusing it ...

Clean Plates at State: Michigan State University

  • Michigan State University (MI)

Michigan State University is continually striving to build a sustainable culture on campus and in the Spartan community. Clean Plates at State helps students and members of our community understand ...

Campus-wide Zero Landfill Waste Policy Implementation & Outreach Program - Emory University

  • Emory University (GA)

In January 2018, Emory University implemented a completely redesigned waste policy as a leap toward the goal of zero landfill waste (defined nationally as diverting 95% of waste from municipal ...

A Comms Plan for Running a Waste Reduction Engagement in your University

  • University of London

Over the last three years at Reduce the Juice we’ve learnt a lot about running successful behaviour change engagements and now want to share what we’ve learnt with ...

Southern Oregon University Dish Loan Program

  • Southern Oregon University (OR)

Southern Oregon University's Ecology and Sustainability Resource Center launched a Dish Loan Program in fall 2017. The Dish Loan Program is a free alternative for campus clubs, organizations, and ...

Improving office recycling

  • Raritan Valley Community College (NJ)

Every semester, the Environmental Science and Sustainability (ENVI201) class studies recycling on campus and comes up with ideas for improvements. Student Deidre Supple had the idea of improving recycling in ...

Food Lab Compost Project

  • West Chester University of Pennsylvania (PA)

This project aims to reduce food waste produced by the West Chester University Food Lab. First, food scraps from the the Food Lab are collected in a sealed bin. Then ...

Renewable Energy for Campus Facilites Services

  • Black Hills State University (SD)

Demonstrating the effectiveness of the use of renewable energy at low costs in campus facilities services vehicles will help Black Hills State University reach its carbon and waste reduction goals ...

Implementation of a Green Labs Program in Campus Laboratories

  • University of Alabama at Birmingham (AL)

UAB Green Labs Program is an institution-wide, voluntary program designed to reduce the university’s carbon output while simultaneously reducing operation costs of research buildings. The program accomplishes its goals ...

The Razorback Food Recovery

  • University of Arkansas (AR)

Food recovery – the practice of preventing surplus foodstuffs from being dumped in the trash – takes numerous forms and provides a variety of social, economic, and environmental benefits. According to the ...

Adding Recycling into Individual Offices

  • South Dakota State University (SD)

2017-2018 has been the year of recycling for South Dakota State University. We looked at recycling levels and determined there was room for improvement. It was determined that availability of ...

Where does it go? Composting at GWU

  • George Washington University (DC)

In February 2018, the George Washington University’s Office of Sustainability and Campaign GW embarked upon a new, risk-taking endeavor to expand access to composting and sustainable food waste across ...

  • Posted May 8, 2018
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Earth Week at Universidad de Monterrey

  • Universidad de Monterrey (NL)

During Earth Week at UDEM, students and staff have the change to participate in different workshops, keynotes and activities that promote the three main topics for this year's Earth ...

Northwestern Promotes Recycling during Earth Month

  • Northwestern University (IL)

Northwestern University celebrates Earth Month throughout April. One of the highlights of the month is Mount Trashmore, and event that calls attention to the amount of waste generated on campus ...

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 ...

Trash Fashion Show 2018

  • Appalachian State University (NC)

Appalachian State and community partners put on a Trash Fashion Show in the new university/Community HOW space. The designers made clothing from items that would have otherwise been discarded ...

Progress toward 90% waste diversion goal

  • Olds College (AB)
  • Bow Valley College (AB)

Bow Valley College has come a long way in terms of waste management in the past four years. In 2014, our waste diversion rate was 19%. In 2018, our diversion ...

  • Posted April 25, 2018
  • Case Studies
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Waste Reduction Twister at Elon University

  • Elon University (NC)

Elon student and Eco-Rep Tori Ippolito created a twister game which focuses on waste reduction. The spinner indicates different types of materials found on campus, with a guide to indicate ...

  • Posted April 25, 2018
  • Photographs
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Zero Waste Pilot at Earth Day Conference, Madison, WI

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (WI)

UW-Madison Office of Sustainability (OS) interns Anna Weinberg, Ally Burg, and Noemy Serrano monitor a zero waste station during the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies Earth Day Conference at Monona ...

  • Posted April 25, 2018
  • Photographs
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Clothing Swap at UW-Madison

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (WI)

Office of Sustainability intern Katie Piel and Outreach Director for the Associated Students of Madison (ASM) Sustainability Committee, Madalynne Bridge, hold piles of clothing donated for the ASM Clothing Swap ...

  • Posted April 25, 2018
  • Photographs
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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.