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

1149 resources

Reuse Economy in Action: Planning Campus Events to Cultivate a Circular Consumption Culture

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

This workshop will focus on organizing campus events that foster a circular economy of consumption. At Carleton College, we hold two events each year to promote this. The Repair Fair ...

  • Posted Dec. 4, 2019
  • Conference Presentations
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MCURC: Universities Scaling Up Sustainability Together

  • The Culinary Institute of America (NY)
  • Stanford University (CA)
  • AASHE (MA)

The Menus of Change University Research Collaborative (MCURC) is a working group of scholars and campus dining leaders from colleges and universities interested in accelerating efforts to move American consumers ...

  • Posted Nov. 13, 2019
  • Videos & Webinars
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Sustainable tea and tea bags

  • Ohio University (OH)

Ohio University's Office of Sustainability partnered with Ohio University's Environmental Affairs Commission on student senate to host a sustainable tea and tea bag event. This event used loose ...

Towson University Campus Sustainability Week

  • Towson University (MD)

Towson University Campus Sustianability Week contained fun and educational experiences for our students. We had tabling events for composting at home, being more sustainable with our water consumption, pollinator garden ...

Turning the Page: A Behavior Change Toolkit for Reducing Paper Use

  • Portland Community College (OR)
  • AASHE (MA)
  • Root Solutions (CA)

In 2017, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and Root Solutions, with funding from the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund, created the Turning the Page ...

Turning the Page: A Behavior Change Toolkit for Reducing Paper Use

  • AASHE (MA)
  • Portland Community College, Rock Creek Campus (OR)
  • Root Solutions (CA)

From 2017-2019, Root Solutions trained more than 20 higher education institutions in how to use behavioral insights to save paper. Based on real-world experiences at these institutions as well as ...

  • Posted Oct. 24, 2019
  • Videos & Webinars
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Webinar: Off-Campus Move Outs… Moving in the Right Direction

  • University of Cincinnati (OH)
  • AASHE (MA)

Many colleges and universities have mastered on-campus move-out diversion, but off-campus student move-out is a much less tackled problem. Apartments, condos and single-family homes located off-campus generate different (and often ...

  • Posted Oct. 3, 2019
  • Videos & Webinars
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Montclair University's Green Team tackles Styrofoam Recycling

  • Montclair State University (NJ)
  • Foam Cycle LLC (NJ)

This summer, Foam Cycle and the Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority (SCMUA) were awarded a Green Team from Montclair State University (MSU) to study a foam packaging (aka Styrofoam) recycling ...

University of Vermont Eco-Reps Points of Intervention Campaign Case Study

  • University of Vermont (VT)

Every Spring semester, the UVM Eco-Reps carry out a campaign related to the main theme of Earth Week. This year, that theme was ‘Points of Intervention’ (POI). Points of Intervention ...

  • Posted Sept. 24, 2019
  • Case Studies
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State of the Recycling Industry

  • University of South Carolina (SC)
  • University of Oregon (OR)
  • College & University Recycling Coalition (DC)

"State of the Recycling Industry: Education & operations best practices for a challenging recycling market"

Originally took place May 30th 2019


Neil Seldman President, Institute for Local Self-Reliance Topic ...

  • Posted Aug. 22, 2019
  • Videos & Webinars
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Campus Composting Best Practices

  • Appalachian State University (NC)
  • Princeton University (NJ)
  • University of Louisville (KY)
  • College & University Recycling Coalition (DC)

Campus Composting Best Practices: Strategies for student engagement & food waste and compostable serveware diversion

Program originally took place May 9, 2019


Jen Maxwell, Sustainability Programs Manager Appalachian State ...

  • Posted Aug. 22, 2019
  • Videos & Webinars
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Mapping Your Waste Stream and What to Do With It

  • College & University Recycling Coalition (DC)

Part of the College and University Recycling Coalition's free webinar series designed to share technical knowledge between program managers, student interns and others involved with promoting waste reduction on ...

  • Posted Aug. 19, 2019
  • Videos & Webinars
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EPA Game Day Challenge

  • Bowdoin College (ME)

Bowdoin's Green Athletics club provided education about waste reduction and composting during Bowdoin's EPA Game Day Challenge event.

Bowdoin College Give and Go Moveout

  • Bowdoin College (ME)

Sustainable Bowdoin student employees help gather unwanted items from residence halls at the end of the school year, with much of the material being donated to Goodwill of northern new ...

Students composting at dining hall

  • Butler University (IN)

Collaboration to Scale Food Waste Collection - Butler University partnered with Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis on a food waste compost collection route, making it affordable to use a large waste hauler ...

Journey to Zero Waste

  • California State University, San Marcos (CA)

This is an annual event, previously celebrated as Thank You for Recycling Day. This year the program was re-branded as Journey to Zero Waste Day to encourage not just recycling ...

  • Posted May 22, 2019
  • Outreach Materials
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Green Events Guide

  • California State University, Northridge (CA)

What does it mean to put on a “Green Event”? What does it mean to be sustainable? Greening your event means to incorporate a wide spectrum of environmental, social, and ...

  • Posted May 22, 2019
  • Outreach Materials
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A Plan for Plastic Waste Reduction

  • Otterbein University (OH)

Since April 2018, Otterbein University has made steps to become more sustainable by reduce plastic waste and promoting reusable water bottles. The university added 30 bottle fill stations to campus ...

No Impact Meal - A More Mindful Dinner

  • Loyola University Chicago (IL)

The No Impact Meal (NIM) program is transforming our relationship with food on campus, one meal at a time. Led by a group of sustainability interns since the spring of ...

  • Posted May 22, 2019
  • Videos & Webinars
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The Pyramid of Action: A Multifaceted Approach For Deeper Engagement

  • California State University, Chico (CA)

With many environmental issues overwhelming students today, it can be paralyzing. So, AS Sustainability utilized the “Pyramid of Action” strategy in semester-long campaigns, leading students from awareness, behavior change, education ...

CU Boulder Animal Bedding Compost

  • University of Colorado Boulder (CO)

Animal vivariums on college campuses generate a significant amount of animal bedding waste every day. CU Boulder houses only small animal vivariums (mice, rats, etc.). The animal bedding generated at ...

The Searle Biodiesel Lab - Loyola University Chicago's Student-Run Biodiesel Program

  • Loyola University Chicago (IL)

The Biodiesel Lab is a student-run biodiesel production facility within Loyola University’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability. Starting from a single student’s idea over a decade ago, nearly 100 ...

Composting at Northwestern University Norris Center

  • Northwestern University (IL)
  • Real Food Challenge (MA)
  • Compass Group (NC)

The project consists of the successful implementation of a front-of-the-house composting program in Northwestern University's Norris Center food court dining area and the coordination of a series of experiments ...

Fighting Irish, Fighting Food Waste: Converting Food Waste into Energy at Notre Dame

  • University of Notre Dame (IN)

At Notre Dame food and hospitality are integral aspects of campus culture. Over the last three years, two student-centered projects aimed at fighting food waste will allow Notre Dame to ...

TRUE Zero Waste Platinum Certification, Chou Hall

  • University of California, Berkeley (CA)

Connie and Kevin Chou Hall is the newest building addition to the UC Berkeley Haas Business School. It is the first academic building in the world to achieve US Green ...

Rheaply AxM: Making Assets Happy Again

  • Rheaply, Inc (IL)

A one minute video depicting the state of resource management in academia, and how circular thinking can be applied to asset management with Rheaply's AxM.

Rheaply’s Asset Exchange ...

  • Posted May 20, 2019
  • Videos & Webinars
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A New Zero Waste Goal for Division 1 Football Games

  • University of Texas at Austin (TX)

Lauren Lichterman, the Operations and Sustainability Coordinator for Intercollegiate Athletics at The University of Texas at Austin, is not one to stop and rest on her laurels. She used a ...

The Good Store

  • University of Northern British Columbia (BC)
  • Prince George Public Interest Research Group (BC)

The Good Store is a low waste shop established on the UNBC campus to provide all members of the community with access to affordable, healthy and sustainable food options. The ...

McHenry County College Composts! (Finally!)

  • McHenry County College (IL)

Composting has been a goal of the MCC Board of Trustees approved Sustainability Strategic Plan since 2012 and 2015. Based on a waste audit done several years ago, MCC’s ...

Dollar Coffee Club

  • University of Montana- Missoula (MT)

The intent of the Dollar Coffee Club (DCC) is to leverage the powerful appeal of one dollar coffee to incentivize customers to participate in sustainability efforts through a quid pro ...

NSCC Waste Diversion Initiative

  • Nova Scotia Community College (NS)

After establishing a baseline for the College’s waste diversion rates at our thirteen Campuses across the Province of Nova Scotia, NSCC’s sustainability office coordinated a waste diversion campaign ...

Earth Week at Portland Community College - Rock Creek Campus 2019

  • Portland Community College, Rock Creek Campus (OR)

Carolina de Aguair Martins, Associated Students of Portland Community College Sustainability & Eco Justice Program Specialist, lead a team of energetic students group to create a sculpture to bring attention ...

The Chemistry Behind Composting

  • Harper College (IL)

Harper College Facilities Management partnered with Harper’s Chemistry Department to begin a compost collection and research program on campus. Compost bins were built in-house on Harper’s grounds for ...

#LoveAMug: Reinvigorating a Reusable Mug Program

  • Princeton University (NJ)

In 2003, Princeton University Campus Dining (CD) introduced a 25 cent reusable mug discount in retail operations. Over the years, the program became stagnant and was applied to an average ...

Chandler-Gilbert Community College Food Waste Recycling Project

  • Chandler-Gilbert Community College (AZ)
  • Maricopa County Community College District Office (AZ)

The CGCC Food Waste Recycling Project is a grant-funded campus-wide ongoing collaborative project that offers deep, cross-disciplinary, experiential student learning via an innovative solution for CGCC’s food and green ...

Fill Plates, Not Landfills: Implementing the Bobcat Eats Food Waste Awareness and Prevention Program

  • University of California, Merced (CA)

The Bobcat Eats Food Waste Awareness and Prevention Program is a collaboration between the University of California, Merced (UC Merced) and the Merced County Food Bank to reduce food waste ...

Starting a Sustainable Revolution 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 environmental footprint while simultaneously reducing operating costs of research buildings. The program accomplishes its goals ...

Addressing Compost Contamination Through Systems Thinking

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (WI)

Discover UW-Madison’s compost collection journey! The UW-Madison (UW) began composting its food scraps at its agricultural research station just off campus in 2009. Since then, the UW has overcome ...

Reducing Energy Waste via Occupant Behavior: The Role of the Individual in Climate Change Solutions

  • University of Colorado Boulder (CO)

This study aims to achieve energy waste reductions via the rewiring of human habits as opposed to using technology. In public spaces like university campuses, individuals often remove themselves from ...

Let's Get Sorted: The Path to Zero Waste at Pomona College

  • Pomona College (CA)

This senior thesis in environmental analysis explores the Zero Waste ideal and its practical application to a college campus. Given the growing global trash crisis and its grave environmental, social ...

Healthy Beverage Initiative: UBC Drinks Tap Water

  • University of British Columbia (BC)
  • University of British Columbia Okanagan (BC)

Bottled beverages are packaged in single-use plastic & often loaded with sugar. They're harmful to both our environment and our health.

UBC launched a Healthy Beverage Initiative (HBI) to ...

CSUN Celebrates Earth Month!

  • California State University, Northridge (CA)

To celebrate Earth Day, many campus departments partnered to provide hands-on and immersive events and workshops to students, creating long-lasting impressions about the effects of climate change. Campus-wide initiatives to ...

Making the Most of Meals

  • Harvard University (MA)

Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) established a food donation program in 2014, which includes bulk donation of nutritious foods from residential dining buffets (approximately 27,000 pounds in 2017), as ...

Personal waste management in higher education: A case study illustrating the importance of a fourth bottom line

  • Pennsylvania State University (PA)

Purpose This paper aims to propose a quadruple bottom line approach for higher education leaders who must decide whether to accept sustainability initiatives that do have not have a business ...

Social and institutional factors affecting sustainability innovation in universities: A computer re-use perspective

  • UNSW Sydney (NSW)

With the wave of digitisation sweeping through the higher education sector, end-of-life outcomes for decommissioned computers will pose a serious sustainability challenge for higher education institutions. This challenge presents an ...

Aim2Flourish: Introducing Chicago to the Circular Economy

  • Loyola University Chicago (IL)
  • Rheaply, Inc (IL)
  • United Nations Foundation (NY)

This article highlights how Rheaply is introducing the circular economy, resource sharing, and waste diversion into business models. In this article, Aim2Flourish, the world’s first higher-education, student-run curriculum aimed ...

Up-Cycled Art

  • University of Vermont (VT)

University of Vermont Eco-Reps held an Up-Cycled Art Exhibit as part of our Earth Week. Students were tasked with creating art out of up-cycled objects. The opening reception ended off ...

The Dallas County Community College District Booth Won an Award at EarthX!

  • Dallas County Community College District System Office (TX)
  • Dallas College (TX)

In Dallas TX, we have the biggest annual celebration of Earth Day! At Fair Park EarthX hosted a three day celebration with more than 135,000 attendees, 679 exhibitors and ...

Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) South Campus Earth Day Celebration

  • Community College of Allegheny County (PA)

Students at CCAC's South Campus took an active part in Earth Day celebrations.

Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) North Campus Earth Day Celebration

  • Community College of Allegheny County (PA)

CCAC North Campus Green Team and Creative Arts Club worked together to make artwork driving home the importance of reducing and recycling waste.

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.

All responses reference content from reports under the latest version of STARS, version 2.2. AASHE membership and log-in is required.

OP 18: Waste Minimization & Diversion

OP 19: Construction & Demolition Waste Diversion

OP 20: Hazardous Waste Management

Additional analysis on scores and quantitative fields can be conducted using the STARS Benchmarking Tool.

Waste Partners