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

996 resources

Ditching Desktop Printers: A Behavior Change Guide to Cutting Paper Use, Energy Consumption, and Costs

  • AASHE (PA)
  • Root Solutions (CA)

Replacing individual desktop printers with a shared office or department ‘multi-function’ printer (MFP) is one of the most impactful ways campuses can reduce paper use. It also generates a suite ...


The First TRUE Zero Waste Certified Academic Building: A Case Study

  • University of California, Berkeley (CA)

Throughout the two years of working toward zero waste at Chou Hall at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, the Chou Hall Zero Waste Initiative team has learned a ...

  • Posted Nov. 16, 2021
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Campus Move-Out Programs

  • Carleton College (MN)

Campus move-out can be a busy time for college campuses and its students. What do you do with items left behind from students? Join this networking session to share your ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Zero-Waste Philosophy Implementation at a University: Initial Steps in Addressing Student Perception

  • University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (WI)

Zero waste is a conceptual philosophy that provides a holistic, sustainable approach to addressing and remedying the consequences of a throw-away mentality. The main goal of the zero-waste philosophy is ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Beyond Diversion: The New Zero Waste Roadmap Strategy - PLAN's Atlas Project

  • Colby-Sawyer College (NH)
  • Williams College (MA)
  • Post-Landfill Action Network (NH)

While diversion has been the go-to metric for evaluating our waste reduction efforts, it skips over several levels of the waste reduction hierarchy, resulting in the prioritization of recycling and ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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PLASTIC - How to Organize a Movement to Ban Disposable Plastics on Campus!

  • Eckerd College (FL)
  • The Student PIRGs (OR)
  • Post-Landfill Action Network (NH)

Coffee cups, bags, straws, take-out containers, swag, etc. Let's talk about how to build a movement to eliminate all disposable items from campus! Organizing around eliminating disposable plastics can ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Sustainable Menstruation: Making Periods Sustainable and Accessible to all

  • California State University, Northridge (CA)
  • California State University, San Marcos (CA)

Did you know that the average menstruating person throws away 1200 menstrual care products during their time in college? Disposable menstrual care products are wasteful and costly, especially for students ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Tackling Plastic from Policy to Implementation

  • University of California, Office of the President (CA)
  • University of California, Los Angeles (CA)
  • University of California, Santa Cruz (CA)

Recent changes in the recycling markets have made it more important than ever to prevent waste from being generated before it needs to be managed at the end of life ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Unlikely Relationships: Multidisciplinary Cooperation to Divert Textile Waste

  • Iowa State University (IA)

Hands-on design courses are an essential component of apparel design curriculum and make up a sizable portion of the classes offered in many university apparel design programs worldwide. However, sewing ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Celebrating 20 Years of RecycleMania: Campus Impacts, Best Practices and Leadership

  • National Wildlife Federation (VA)

This is a proposal to submit a video instead of a poster due to the transition to a virtual conference platform for AASHE 2020. This video will tell the story ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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What's the plan for LED lighting and it's environmental impact?

  • Circadia Group (PA)

LED Lighting is here to stay and very soon you will not have another any other option to purchase. Many have come to know how beneficial the technology is in ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Revolutionizing Campus Dining: Reducing Waste and Connecting with Staff

  • University of California, Berkeley (CA)

Dining halls play a critical role in meeting UC Berkeley's ambitious goal of Zero Waste by 2020. Reevaluating the products we use, prioritizing sustainable purchasing, and reducing food waste ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Inputs to Outputs: Taking an Event Beyond Zero-Waste to Green Certification

  • University of Pittsburgh (PA)

The University of Pittsburgh has a strong hold on zero-waste. This presentation would include an introduction to our zero-waste infrastructure and the progress we have made, while the bulk of ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Opening up the 'Black Box' of Recycling: Discussion of Justice in Recycling Promotes Waste Reduction

  • The University of Findlay (OH)

Although recycling is a popular sustainability practice, college students usually have limited knowledge of how and where the recyclables they put in recycling bins are turned into usable products. It ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Food Waste Warriors: Combating Food Waste with Strong Relationships and Education

  • University of North Carolina, Asheville (NC)

Through strong partnerships with community members both on and off campus, UNC Asheville Dining Services continues to reduce waste, while increasing educational opportunities around food waste. UNC Asheville Dining Services ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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From Baby Steps to the High Dive: Bringing Circular Principles Into 2020 Action Plans

  • Rheaply, Inc (IL)

What will it take to scale circular efforts in higher education? In this presentation, we will discuss an ingredient of a circular economy that's missing in higher education: using ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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How to create a culture of empowerment around your campus zero waste program

  • CleanRiver Recycling Solutions (ON)

This presentation is a critical must-see for anyone seeking tangible strategies to drive engagement in their campus zero waste program. Slides and visual aids will be used to present a ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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EchoWorks: a Cooperative e-Recycling Program

  • Western Dakota Technical College (SD)

Globally, electronic waste is the fastest growing segment of municipal waste. Unfortunately, there is a widespread lack of availability of safe disposal options for the often-toxic e-materials. To provide this ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Utilizing Geographic Information Systems to Conduct Indoor Waste Receptacle Inventory

  • Indiana University Bloomington (IN)

This presentation will highlight the methodologies and lessons learned in utilizing Geographic Information Systems to develop and implement a process to efficiently inventory all indoor waste receptacles on Indiana University ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Recycling Data: What We've Learned

  • University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (MA)
  • NORESCO (NC)

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has been partnering with NORESCO for the past 9 years on a number of energy savings and behavior change initiatives. One of these has been ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Taste Not Waste: A Campus-Wide Initiative to Take a Bite out of Food Waste

  • Concordia College - Moorhead (MN)

America is experiencing a food waste crisis, with an estimated 30-40 percent of the food supply, approximately 35 million tons annually, never eaten. Wholesome food that could have helped feed ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Using Smartsheets, Dashboards and ArcGIS Insights to Track and Analyze Waste Stream's Weights

  • University of Kentucky (KY)

The University of Kentucky's (UK) Waste and Recycling Department is using Smartsheets, Dashboard and ArcGIS Insights to collect and analyze the different waste streams. UK has about 300 dumpsters ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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One-Stop Thrift Shop: Sustainable Thrifting on a College Campus

  • University of Denver (CO)

College students need cheap supplies for a short amount of time. This project examines the university community's material waste practices and offers alternatives that cater to community needs. Through ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Optimization Strategy for Glass Recycling with Positive Economic and Environmental Impacts

  • Georgia College & State University (GA)

In many rural areas, glass is a hard to recycle item. Georgia College, one of only three universities in the United States, has provided a unique, educational, and innovative method ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Emotional Intelligence, Effective Advocacy and Sustainable Operations: The Path to Zero Waste

  • State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (NY)

Municipal solid waste landfills are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the U.S. Landfills have also been shown to be environmentally unjust. Since the 1980's, studies ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Leftover Food App: A Way to Address Food Waste and Food Insecurity on Campus

  • Lehigh University (PA)

Every day departments, offices, and clubs hold events and meetings across campus with food. There is often leftover food at these events and meetings that gets thrown away. Lehigh University ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Resilient Recycling- Build a Strong Recycling Program Against Market Forces and Beyond Good Behavior

  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (WI)

Contamination, 'wish-cycling', and global market changes are shaking the very foundation of recycling. The barriers to recycling and zero-waste are not just in marketing & campus behavior, but rather they ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Gear Garage: Making the Outdoors More Accessible

  • University of Denver (CO)

The DU Gear Garage was established during the 2016-2017 school year by two students who were looking to make getting outside more accessible to the wider campus community. It was ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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FOO[anaerobic]D Systems: Food Justice and the Future of Our [anaerobic] Digestion Systems

  • University of Central Florida (FL)

A team of students from the University of Central Florida (UCF) have been working with campus, community, municipal, and private partners to pilot an anaerobic digestion (AD) system to divert ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Approaches to Strategic Zero Waste Planning and Implementation

  • Boston University (MA)
  • University of California, Los Angeles (CA)
  • University of California, Berkeley (CA)

Zero Waste requires reimagining the notion of 'waste' and navigating the tension between meeting the desires of a University's young, climate-concerned community and convincing University leadership and staff to ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Move Out Programs: Finding the Solution for your Campus

  • Post-Landfill Action Network (NH)

Every year when students move out of their dorms and apartments, tons of useful stuff is left behind or discarded. Over the past decade or so, campuses all across the ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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A Zero Waste Campus is Possible!

  • Post-Landfill Action Network (NH)

In this workshop we will facilitate a discussion around how students can lead specific efforts to solve waste issues on their campuses. We start with a short presentation on the ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Cultivating Student and Staff Leaders through Campus Food Recovery Programs

  • University of California, Berkeley (CA)

As the awareness of food insecurity on college campuses increases, campus dining services are referred to as potential emergency relief for student food insecurity. Through food recovery programs, dining services ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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UW-Stevens Point Organics Diversion Program

  • University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (WI)

The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) has been actively managing its organics for decades. Over the past 10 years, UWSP has managed upwards of 140,000 pounds of organics per ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Organics for Everyone: Lessons Learned from a Large-Scale Campus-wide Organics Rollout

  • University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (MN)
  • University of Minnesota System Office (MN)

Implementing post-consumer organics collection on campus is a big step. But it can be done! The University of Minnesota has confronted the challenges associated with front-of-house organics collection head-on with ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Michigan State University Brody Neighborhood Re-design and Innovative Future

  • Michigan State University (MI)

The Michigan State University (MSU) Division of Residential and Hospitality Services (RHS) is committed to ensuring long-term sustainability by recognizing and reducing our impacts on the planet. Through our programs ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Middlebury College Shifts Toward all Renewable Energy with Innovative farm to fuel Partnership

  • Middlebury College (VT)
  • Vanguard Renewables (MA)
  • Vermont Gas Systems (VT)

Middlebury College will significantly reduce its carbon footprint and move toward meeting its Energy2028 goal of 100% renewable energy, thanks to an innovative partnership with Goodrich Family Farm in Salisbury ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Undermined Every Day: The Impact of Recycling Staff Marginalization and Mattering on Waste Diversion

  • University of Virginia (VA)

When I worked in university recycling, our efforts were often undermined by other members of the campus community and our colleagues within facilities management. In conversations with recycling staff at ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Going Zero Waste: It's not Just Business, it's Personal

  • California State University, Northridge (CA)

There are many long-established zero waste best practices addressing bins, signage, reusables and more. Unlike LED retrofits, low-flow faucets or other infrastructure projects, a zero waste initiative requires the participation ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Menstruation Conversation : The intersection of sustainability, inclusivity, and empowerment

  • Dot Cup (IL)

Menstruation is having a moment. 2019 brought us the first ever Menstruation-Focused Oscar Winner - Period End of Sentence, as well as the first annual National Period Day. At Dot Cup ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Boxes 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 is a multitude of packaged items delivered to the ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Recycling Food Waste on the Fly: Using Black Soldier Fly to Recycle Food Waste at LSU

  • Louisiana State University (LA)

We would like to present on how LSU is using the Black Solider Fly insect to recycle the pre and post-consumer food waste from LSU, turning the waste into fertilizer ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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College & University Recycling Coalition (CURC) Campus Recycling Session

  • Appalachian State University (NC)

The College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC), in partnership with the United States Composting Council and Elevate Packaging, recently administered a survey to colleges and universities to understand how their ...

  • Posted Nov. 15, 2021
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Zero waste policy evaluation of college campus. A case study of University of Florida.

  • University of Florida (FL)

Waste generation and disposal of that waste is as big of an issue as climate change. Different factors come into play in developed and developing world. In developing countries litter ...


How to green your lab

  • University of Colorado Boulder (CO)
  • My Green Lab (CA)
  • São Paulo State University

Research labs are often wasteful, making use of unrecyclable materials, always-on equipment and environmentally dangerous chemicals. This webcast, for scientists at all levels, will draw upon the expertise of speakers ...

  • Posted Sept. 28, 2021
  • Videos & Webinars
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Using Lean Feedback-Loops to Build a Sustainable Zero Waste Program

  • University of California, San Francisco (CA)
  • AASHE (PA)

Lean processes are about creating quick feedback loops to run experiments that confirm a hypothesis or inform changes to yield better results. Many organizations have attained monumental growth by quickly ...

  • Posted Sept. 28, 2021
  • Videos & Webinars
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Zero waste policy evaluation of college campus. A case study of University of Florida

  • University of Florida (FL)

Waste generation and disposal of that waste is as big of an issue as climate change. Different factors come into play in developed and developing world. In developing countries litter ...

  • Posted Sept. 23, 2021
  • Case Studies
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Grand Valley State University Surplus Store

  • Grand Valley State University (MI)

Artwork on the window of the GVSU Surplus Store


Water Bottle Refill Station, McGill, Downtown Campus

  • McGill University (QC)

As part of the 2019 Refill McGill campaign, the sale of water bottles was banned on campus. During the course of the campaign, over 30 water fountains were installed or ...


Sterling College Break Free from Plastic Pledge

  • Sterling College (VT) (VT)

Sterling College proudly displays their signed #BreakFreeFromPlastic Campus pledge, which guides colleges and universities towards single-use plastic elimination and waste elimination. Sterling College, a federally designated Work College in Vermont ...

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