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

1160 resources

Embracing Plastic-Free: Reusable Takeout at Carleton College That is Actually Reused

  • Carleton College (MN)
  • USEFULL (MA)

College campuses have an opportunity to positively impact the waste stream with reusable container programs in campus dining. Bon Appétit at Carleton College partnered with USEFULL to offer tech-enabled reusable ...


Community Clean Up on Houbolt Road

  • Joliet Junior College (IL)

Joliet Junior College had a clean up on the road outside of the school. We invited 15 different businesses along the road and had 5 sign up, including a visit ...


Upcycle Journal Day at Joliet Junior College

  • Joliet Junior College (IL)

Students made journals from homemade and G.O.O.S. paper.


Romeoville Repair Cafe at Joliet Junior College

  • Joliet Junior College (IL)

Joliet Junior College is a registered international Repair Cafe! We had our first Repair Cafe of the year and our on April 13th, we had our very first one for ...


Auburn University Earth Day 2024

  • Auburn University (AL)

Auburn University celebrates Earth Day 2024


Weigh the Waste

  • Seattle University (WA)

Seattle University's Redhawk dining team wanted to create a visual representation of the waste that is created from students choosing a compostable to-go container instead of choosing a plate.


Un-Can-It for the Planet

  • Johnson County Community College (KS)

An annual event where student unpackage expired food from our Student Basic Needs Center and compost it, and students and staff are also able to bring expired or stale food ...

  • Posted April 25, 2024
  • Photographs
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Earth Day Recycling Drive

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MA)
  • Casella (VT)

Student group Waste Watchers, the MIT Office of Sustainability staff, and MIT's waste hauler Casella led an Earth Day event to collect small electronics for specialty recycling. The event ...

  • Posted April 24, 2024
  • Photographs
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Composting at EMU Dining's Facilities

  • Chartwells Higher Education (NY)

Currently, three of EMU’s dining facilities are a part of a program that diverts pre and post consumer food waste from landfill. Our teams have a contract with a ...

  • Posted April 23, 2024
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Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory - Earth Day Beach Cleanup

  • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (NY)

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory held a beach cleanup for their beach on the campus. This was organized through the Sustainability Committee as an attempt to bring the lab community together ...

  • Posted April 23, 2024
  • Photographs
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Happy World Earth Day 2024: Planet Vs Plastic! UM promotes its Action Plan on Single-Use Plastics and Disposable Items Reduction

  • University of Malaya

Universiti Malaya Sustainable Development Centre (UMSDC) wishes all of you Happy World Earth Day 2024 with the theme 'Planet vs Plastic'

We invite you to join us with our 4 ...

  • Posted April 23, 2024
  • Photographs
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New Campus-wide Composting System Launched at Lafayette College

  • Lafayette College (PA)

January, 2024

Easton, Pennsylvania – Lafayette College launched a new campus-wide food waste composting program this fall, using an odor-controlled In Vessel composting system that automatically processes food waste into compost ...

  • Posted March 19, 2024
  • Publications
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Zero Waste Strategic Visioning & Planning

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (WI)
  • Post-Landfill Action Network (NH)

Zero Waste Strategic Visioning & Planning provides an opportunity for participants to explore the challenges and opportunities with facilitating a campus-wide strategic visioning and planning process. This will be a ...

  • Posted Feb. 21, 2024
  • Conference Presentations
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Zero Waste Campuses

  • Post-Landfill Action Network (NH)

This is a meetup for all students, staff, companies, and professionals that are working on campus Zero Waste efforts. Whether you're helping your campus achieve Zero Waste goals, or ...

  • Posted Feb. 21, 2024
  • Conference Presentations
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Haul It to the Hall with Redbirds

  • Illinois State University (IL)

“Haul It to the Hall Program" is one of the successful environmental stewardship initiatives that play a vital role in cultivating a sustainable culture and advancing sustainability efforts at Illinois ...

  • Posted Feb. 21, 2024
  • Conference Presentations
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Zero Waste Hero: Developing a Self-Paced Certification Program for Students

  • University of Texas at Austin (TX)

Social media, tabling events, signage , and classroom presentations….how else can we direct students to information about zero waste on campus that they can engage with and refer to throughout ...

  • Posted Feb. 21, 2024
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Decolonizing Compost

  • University of the Incarnate Word (TX)

This presentation describes how composting has been integrated into the Sustainability Studies curriculum at my institution and its pedagogical benefits. We have on-site composting in our community gardens, and we ...

  • Posted Feb. 21, 2024
  • Conference Presentations
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Zero Waste Tailgates: Creating a ripple effect of change….and having fun along the way!

  • Illinois State University (IL)

The Illinois State University Office of Sustainability hosted a “Zero Waste Tailgate” before each home football team for the last two seasons. Each tailgate was located in a prominent tailgating ...

  • Posted Feb. 21, 2024
  • Conference Presentations
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Communicating Recycling’s Relevancy to the Campus Community

  • Northwestern University (IL)
  • Busch Systems International Inc. (ON)

Before sustainability offices existed, campuses had recycling and waste reduction programs to reduce their environmental footprint. But in recent years a perception that recycling is “broken”, or worse, a greenwashing ...

  • Posted Feb. 21, 2024
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Composting: Simple Changes for Meaningful Impacts

  • University of Arizona (AZ)

Food loss and waste are global challenges; an estimated 40% of food in the U.S. is wasted. Food waste disposal practices correlate with issues such as food insecurity, poverty ...

  • Posted Feb. 21, 2024
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Building the Equity Loop: From Campus Move Out to Community Action

  • Lafayette College (PA)

As outlined in the Climate Action Plan, Lafayette is committed to achieving a 40% diversion of waste to landfill by 2030 and a 60% diversion rate by 2035. Green Move ...

  • Posted Feb. 21, 2024
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Fashion Forward: Navigating the Intersection of Sustainability and Inclusivity

  • Connecticut College (CT)

The deluge of donated clothing that many of us get during our move-out donation programs can be so overwhelming that many of us end up donating all or most of ...

  • Posted Feb. 21, 2024
  • Conference Presentations
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Missing Pieces in Higher Education Climate Action Planning: Food, Reuse and Empowerment

  • AASHE (MA)
  • Gaia Education
  • Center for Biological Diversity (AZ)

Climate plans can help colleges and universities address climate concerns specific to the students, faculty and staff of that campus. Staff from the Center for Biological Diversity and GAIA will ...

  • Posted Feb. 15, 2024
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It’s Really Free! Patriot Packout Expands to Support George Mason University Community Members’ Basic Needs

  • George Mason University (VA)

This case study focuses on George Mason University’s sustainable move-out initiative, Patriot Packout (PPO) 2023. Existing in some form (unofficial and official) since 2003, the PPO initiative was expanded ...


Building the Equity Loop: From Campus Move Out to Community Action

  • Lafayette College (PA)
  • AASHE (MA)

As outlined in the Climate Action Plan, Lafayette is committed to achieving a 40% diversion of waste to landfill by 2030 and a 60% diversion rate by 2035. Green Move ...

  • Posted Oct. 26, 2023
  • Videos & Webinars
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Learning About Metal Recycling

  • University of Southern California (CA)

Students from the USC Dornsife Environmental Studies program visited the SA Recycling center located on Terminal Island in San Pedro. The students toured the facility and learned about the entire ...


Honolulu Community College: SCI 2023

  • University of Hawaii Honolulu Community College (HI)

Student success and wellbeing initiative - Funded by a US Department of Education grant through 2025, the Ola Niuhelewai Program at University of Hawaii Honolulu Community College aims to increase Native ...


Zero Waste Football (Horizontal and Vertical Image)

  • Coastal Carolina University (SC)

Every Chanticleer home football game is a zero-waste initiative. The goal of this effort is to divert as much waste as possible from each CCU home football game. We do ...


Free professional wardrobe(s)

  • Cornell University (NY)

Cornell Wardrobe, a student-run organization, The Wardrobe provides attire for ‘any student, any opportunity


The Welcome Bazaar

  • Université de Sherbrooke (QC)

Since 2016, the Université de Sherbrooke has organized the Welcome Bazaar, an event that promotes peer-to-peer exchange within the university community and thus encourages the use of second-hand goods. The ...


Research, Upcycled Textile

  • Cornell University (NY)

Upcycled polyester.


Humber College SCI 2023 Photos - Waste Category

  • Humber College (ON)

The photos being submitted relate to Humber College's recognition as a Top Performer in the 2023 SCI Waste category.


"One Sheet-One Leaf" project

  • Western Caspian University (Bakı)

Western Caspian University teachers and students organised a three-day training event within the framework of the "One Sheet-One Leaf" project, which won the "Make the Idea 2022" Grant Contest.


A case study of sustainable hospitality education relating to food waste from the perspective of transformative learning theory

  • Shih Chien University

This study applies a critical tourism approach and transformative learning theory to examine the factors influencing students to take a food design course and the relationships among students' learning intentions ...

  • Posted June 15, 2023
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Informative initiatives as a useful tool to raise awareness of food waste. An application to higher education

  • University of Zaragoza

Purpose: Because food waste is a serious problem today, society is currently aiming for more responsible consumption to minimize it, as defined in the 12th goal of the United Nations ...

  • Posted June 15, 2023
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At the moment of disposal: how messaging techniques at university public outdoor waste receptacles can improve the solid waste stream

  • University of Florida (FL)

Purpose: This study aims to test how waste disposal behaviors can be changed such as higher recycling diversion and lower contamination rates using signage and messaging techniques at public outdoor ...

  • Posted June 15, 2023
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Bottled vs tap water perceptions, choices and recommendations in a US Midwest university community

  • Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (IL)
  • University of Southern Maine (ME)

Purpose:This study aims to determine preference and concerns regarding tap vs bottled water and recommendations to increase tap water use in a US Midwest university. The authors propose interventions ...

  • Posted June 15, 2023
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Waste governance and campus sustainability: formal and informal waste systems at football tailgates in Michigan

  • Michigan State University (MI)
  • University of St Andrews (Scotland)

Purpose: Football tailgating is a focus of campus sustainability in the United States because it produces large amounts of waste. In states where recyclables can be redeemed for cash, this ...

  • Posted June 15, 2023
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CUB Plastic Shipping Bag Recycling Program

  • Gettysburg College (PA)

We implemented a plastic shipping bag recycling program at Gettysburg College. Recycling bags contribute towards contamination within the college's single-stream recycling or end up directly in the landfill via ...

  • Posted June 15, 2023
  • Publications
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Student Led Composting in Residence Halls

  • Drake University (IA)

In 2021, a student recognized the opportunity to reduce waste landfilled from residence halls. Working with Facilities, Residence Life, and Community Engaged Learning, a grant was applied for and received ...


Ohio State's Composting Expansion

  • The Ohio State University (OH)

Ohio State’s Compost Program Expansion led by Facilities, Operations, and Development (FOD), in collaboration with Student Life, Athletics, Wexner Medical Center, the Sustainability Institute, and many student groups, enabled ...


OwlSwap– A Social Equity and Environmental Sustainability Textiles and Apparel Initiative at Kennesaw State University

  • Kennesaw State University (GA)

Clothing production is one of the most polluting, resource-intensive industrial processes on the planet. On average, over 80 lbs of textile waste per person ends up in landfills every year ...


The Community Action Center Project: Where Food Shelves Meet Carbon Offsets

  • Carleton College (MN)

In the city of Northfield, MN, uneaten food typically ends up as waste in the landfill. As this food decomposes, it releases methane—a greenhouse gas far more potent than ...


"Food Waste Prevention Week"

  • University of California, Merced (CA)

The University of California, Merced's (UC Merced) Sustainable Food Programs is focused on and committed to surplus food recovery, food waste awareness and prevention, food security and more. UC ...


Sustainable Lab Community Engagement Campaign

  • McGill University (QC)

McGill University is working toward two ambitious sustainability targets: to become zero-waste by 2035 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040. As one of the top research universities in Canada ...


Food Waste to Energy: From Pilot Scale Biogas to Grid Tied CHP on a Campus Farm

  • Dickinson College (PA)

The Dickinson College Farm is culminating a multi-year project to convert campus food waste to sustainable energy through a grid-connected biogas system. Biogas is a carbon neutral, renewable alternative to ...


USC’s Single-use Plastics Elimination – Beverage Bottles Policy

  • University of Southern California (CA)

The University of Southern California (USC) established the Single-use Plastics Elimination – Beverage Bottles Policy in July 2022, prohibiting the purchase or use of single-use plastic beverage products across the university ...


Bottle Filling Stations at UCI 2023

  • University of California, Irvine (CA)

UCI Facilities Management in collaboration with the Campus as a Living Lab class brought together interns to embark on the revitalization of the bottle filling stations program. The pandemic halted ...


Waste Management Education and Procedural Improvements at a Residential Dining Facility

  • Wake Forest University (NC)
  • Harvest Table Culinary Group (PA)

Sustainability features are only as effective as their operators. While the second largest dining facility at Wake Forest hosts several sustainability features, the compost program was lacking in strength due ...


Marquette Career Closet

  • Marquette University (WI)

Marquette Career Closet is a student-founded, university-adopted, service that provides access to professional clothes to students on campus to encourage them to pursue their career aspirations. This is done by ...

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