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

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Campus-Scale Biodiesel Production

  • Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University (AL)
  • Lake Area Technical Institute (SD)
  • Seward County Community College (KS)
  • Springboard Biodiesel (CA)
  • University of Costa Rica
  • University of Botswana

This a compilation highlighting 5 schools that are using Biodiesel production as part of their climate action plans. Each school has diverted waste by using used cooking oil (already produced ...

  • Posted Nov. 21, 2022
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Valparaiso University Waste Audit: Reducing Plastic

  • Valparaiso University (IN)

The Office of Sustainability at Valparaiso University recently performed a comprehensive waste audit of all campus buildings to identify opportunities to save money, reduce waste, and to promote better waste ...

  • Posted Nov. 10, 2022
  • Case Studies
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University of Botswana in Gaborone converts Trichilia seed into Biodiesel

  • Springboard Biodiesel (CA)
  • University of Botswana

The University of Botswana in Gaborone converts used cooking oils (produced at the University) as well as beef tallow, and trichilia seed. Trichilia seed is an inedible native seed that ...

University of Costa Rica makes biodiesel from Jack Fruit seed oil

  • Springboard Biodiesel (CA)
  • University of Costa Rica

In celebration of Campus Sustainability Month here is the University of Costa Rica in San Jose. They are conducting research on various inedible indigenous seed oils including jack fruit seed ...

2022 EarthFest at the University of Maryland, College Park

  • University of Maryland, College Park (MD)

Sustainability-minded students at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) hosted an Earth Day festival in 2022. EarthFest 2022 invited student sustainability leaders and volunteers from more than twenty groups ...

College Park Scholars Waste Audit

  • University of Maryland, College Park (MD)

Students in the College Park Scholars Program complete a waste audit at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Waste Management at OSU

  • Oregon State University (OR)

Photos for the 2022 Sustainable Campus Index (SCI), Top Performer in Waste section

Princeton Builds Sustainability

  • Princeton University (NJ)

Princeton recycles at least 95% of its materials in construction and demolition projects, while investing in water-saving and emissions-reducing technologies in and around its new buildings such as the construction ...

UMN Morris student recycling cardboard at campus recycling center

  • University of Minnesota, Morris (MN)

UMN Morris students staff the Recycling Center. The picture shows a UMN Morris student breaking down boxes before they are compressed and stored for future recycling.

UMN Morris intern giving a tour of the new Morris Water Treatment Plant

  • University of Minnesota, Morris (MN)

UMN Morris intern (Michael Abbing) provides a tour of the Morris Water Treatment Plant for visitors. This new water treatment plant is a collaboration between the city of Morris, and ...

UMN Morris works with partners to launch county-wide composting program

  • University of Minnesota, Morris (MN)

UMN Morris helped launch the new countywide composing program. UMN Morris hit a milestone of diverting 1 million pounds of organic material from the landfill with its onsite cold-weather system ...

Sustainable Catering@Penn

  • University of Pennsylvania (PA)

Sustainable Catering@Penn - A newly designed webpage at University of Pennsylvania provides search functionality for information about Penn’s Preferred Contract Caterers. Through Catering@Penn, users can now search for ...

Brainstorming Session: Reducing Waste During Campus Move-Outs (pt 2) & Move-Ins

  • AASHE (PA)

Join this brainstorming session and meet with peers to discuss everything from community partners to communications to student helpers and more. Come prepared to share, listen, or both.

The first ...

  • Posted July 28, 2022
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Brainstorming Session: Reducing Waste During Campus Move-Outs

  • University of Virginia (VA)
  • AASHE (PA)

Join this brainstorming session and meet with peers to discuss everything from community partners to communications to student helpers and more. Come prepared to share, listen, or both.

  • Posted June 24, 2022
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Sustainable Fashion Production

  • George Brown College (ON)

This Sustainable Fashion Production graduate certificate program prepares graduates to apply sustainability to the pre-production and manufacturing process for apparel. Pre-production analysis, selection of appropriate techniques and technology, flow and ...

  • Posted June 10, 2022
  • Academic Programs
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We Feed Aggie Animals

  • Texas A&M University (TX)
  • Chartwells Higher Education (NY)

Texas A&M Aggie Dining launched a new "We Feed Aggie Animals" food waste initiative to enhance goals of eliminating food waste while supporting the campus community. Starting in January 2022 ...

Evaluating Food Packaging Waste in Schools: A Systematic Literature Review

  • University of California, Berkeley (CA)

Public schools in the U.S. generate about 14,500 tons of municipal solid waste daily, and approximately 42% of that is food packaging generated by school foodservice, contributing significantly ...

EchoWorks: An Electronics Recycling College-Community Partnership

  • Western Dakota Technical College (SD)

There are more than a thousand toxic substances associated with electronic waste (e-waste), and improper disposal can lead to soil, water, food, and air contamination. E-waste is the fastest growing ...

Increasing rates of convenience food packaging use at HEIs: a case study of the Neelsie student centre, Stellenbosch University

  • Stellenbosch University (Western Cape)

Food packaging waste from Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) is a significant management concern. Waste minimisation is critical to reduce the pressures on already stretched municipal infrastructure. This is set against ...

Contactless Food Box Deliveries: Driving Down Food Insecurity

  • University of California, Merced (CA)

The University of California, Merced (UC Merced) launched the Contactless Food Box Delivery Program in December 2020 which continues to this day. 5-10 boxes are delivered every week to those ...

Campus Clothing Swap

  • Florida International University (FL)

This project was produced by my club Society for Sustainable Souls at Florida International Universities (FIU) campus. It was created to encourage sustainability as well as community on FIU's ...

Washington and Lee Quick Hits: Sustainability Leadership Trip Explores Local Food

  • Washington and Lee University (VA)

Washington and Lee University takes student leaders in sustainability on a trip to explore local foods and dining waste. It features the students visiting the campus's local garden that ...

  • Posted May 19, 2022
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Hornet Reuse App

  • California State University, Sacramento (CA)

As a way of reducing waste, creating a circular economy and creating a sense of community between students, faculty and staff at Sacramento State, Hornet Reuse was born. Hornet Reuse ...

The Culture and Personal Disposal Practices of University Students: A Qualitative Study in Brazil and Germany

  • Universidade Federal do Ceará

This study aimed to investigate the relationship between cultural components and municipal solid waste (MSW) disposal individual practices in the context of Brazilian and German university students. To achieve this ...

Intention to adopt pro-environmental behaviors among university students of hard and soft sciences: the case of drinking by reusable bottles

  • Università degli Studi di Torino
  • Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II

The market of bottled water is one of the largest in the world. Paradoxically, the consumption of water in plastic bottles is highest in countries rich in the potable tap ...

A comprehensive approach for the feasibility assessment of on-campus food waste composting

  • American University of Sharjah (Ash Shariqah)
  • German Jordanian University

Food waste management is increasingly emphasized globally due to its economic and environmental impacts and the strategic transformation towards sustainability. This can be observed from the increasing number of Zero ...

Life Cycle Assessment of Compostable Coffee Pods: A US University Based Case Study

  • University of Tennessee at Knoxville (TN)
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory (TN)

Single-serve machines have proven to be a rapid and convenient mechanism for preparing coffee for consumption. However, disposing the single-use coffee pods accompanying each use creates insurmountable waste in landfills ...

Addressing plate waste and consumption practice at university canteens: realizing green university through citizen-consumers

  • Ubon Ratchathani Rajabhat University

This study aims to explore ways to minimize plate waste at university canteens by studying plate waste and consumers at three main canteens of a university, Thailand.

Integration of food waste composting and vegetable gardens in a university campus

  • University of A Coruña (a Coruña)

Local composting (household, community and small scale applications) is considered a sustainable option for bio-waste recovery and is receiving increasing demand from society. Higher education institutions are no exception, but ...

Don’t be a waster! Student perceptions of recycling strategies at an English University’s halls of residence

  • Bournemouth University (Dorset)

This paper aims to explore student perceptions of recycling and explore whether one university’s strategy helped or hindered student recycling in their university's halls of residence. There is ...

University leadership in climate mitigation: reducing emissions from waste through carbon pricing

  • Syracuse University (NY)
  • Seoul National University

Purpose - This paper aims to investigate potential impact of internal carbon pricing in emission reduction in Higher education institutions (HEIs). Over the past century, human activities have increased greenhouse gas ...

Promoting recycling, reducing and reusing in the School of Design: a step toward improving sustainability literacy

  • Syracuse University (NY)

This paper aims to explore systematic strategies implemented at the School of Design, X University, to use materials more sustainably and responsibly in the design studios.

Zero Single-Use Plastics University

  • Universidad CES (Antioquia)

Since 2019 CES University began with the implementation of the zero single-use plastics guidelines in order to restrict 100% the use of all single-use plastics at Campus and thus avoid ...

Predicting sustainable consumption of package-free bath products among students in higher education institutions

  • Ateneo de Manila University

This study aims to examine the applicability of an extended version of the theory of planned behavior (TPB) in predicting pro-environmental behavior, specifically the purchase behavior (PB) of package-free bath ...

Circular economy, cradle to cradle and zero waste frameworks in teacher education for sustainability

  • Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences

Sustainability is a major concern in education policies. This paper aims to describe how alternative economic education including concepts of the circular economy (CE), cradle to cradle (C2C) and zero ...

Boston College Green Week: BC Dining Hosts Events to Promote Sustainability Initiatives

  • Boston College (MA)

Each year, to celebrate Earth Day, Boston College clubs and organizations collaborate to host Green Week. With different events, pop-ups, and educational resources, students are able to see all of ...

sustainNU Hosts Reuse & Repair Fair

  • Northwestern University (IL)

Northwestern's Office of Sustainability hosted a Repair and Reuse Fair featuring a variety of on-campus and local vendors, including a local bike shop, clothing mending organization, tool library, zero-waste ...

Earth Conscious Menu at JMU Senior Symposium Event

  • James Madison University (VA)

On Earth Day, students in JMU's School of Integrated Sciences presented their work at the annual Senior Symposium. This year, the SIS Senior Symposium was recognized by JMU's ...

Earth Month Bag Drive

  • City University of New York, College of Staten Island (NY)

On April 25th, students, faculty and staff were encouraged to bring their plastic bags so they can be recycled. In exchange they could get a reusable bag provided by the ...

Campus Clean Up 2022

  • City University of New York, College of Staten Island (NY)

On April 14,2022, College of Staten Island students joined the annual campus cleanup day. The goal was to collect as much garbage as possible on campus before grass mowing ...

Queens College Reduces Single-Use Plastics In Our Dining Halls

  • City University of New York, Queens College (NY)

Queens College, a college within the City University of New York system, recently launched an initiative to reduce single-use plastics in our campus dining halls. Our food servicer, Mangia Fresca ...

Exploring Factors Promoting Recycling Behavior in Student Housing

  • Lund University
  • KTH Royal Institute of Technology

As climate-related issues are important and concern all aspects of the built environment, there is a need to better understand the motives underlying household recycling behavior. The purpose of the ...

  • Posted April 29, 2022
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Paper Steps on Campus

  • National Wildlife Federation (VA)

Campuses across North America play a pivotal role in creating and demonstrating successful sustainability programs to be emulated across society. When it comes to recycling of vital resources, which is ...

  • Posted April 28, 2022
  • Publications
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Zero Waste Goal Setting – Qualitative vs. Quantitative and the Challenges with Diversion

  • University of California, Office of the President (CA)
  • University of Arizona (AZ)
  • Williams College (MA)
  • AASHE (PA)
  • 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 April 28, 2022
  • Videos & Webinars
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Binghamton University Sustainability Hub Earth Day Event

  • Binghamton University (NY)

The Binghamton University Sustainability Hub had an Earth Day event that included a student panel talking about the work they did to create the newly launched Equitable Sustainability Resource Guide ...

  • Posted April 28, 2022
  • Photographs
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Sustainability Hub table at the Binghamton University Earth Day Festival

  • Binghamton University (NY)

The Sustainability Hub had a table at the campus main Earth Day Festival. The table featured an overview of what the Hub has to offer and swag including plantable notebooks ...

  • Posted April 28, 2022
  • Photographs
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Sport Goals Are Sustainably Goals

  • University of Tennessee at Knoxville (TN)

The University of Tennessee Knoxville's football stadium has a capacity of 102k fans. With the amount of fans each game brings, there is bound to be a lot of ...

  • Posted April 18, 2022
  • Photographs
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Creating Effective Waste Bin Signage

  • University of Texas at Austin (TX)

A University of Texas at Austin Zero Waste Working Group used a comprehensive process including signage studies, waste composition data, and a progression of testing to design a new campus-wide ...

  • Posted March 10, 2022
  • Case Studies
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Toward Zero Waste – A Study In Reducing And Managing Lab Waste

  • University of Calgary (AB)

The linear waste management model (take-make-dispose) has led to consumption and production patterns that exceed Earth’s sustainable capacity. Zero Waste philosophies emphasize the reduction of raw material usage, retention ...

  • Posted March 10, 2022
  • Publications
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Promoting Sustainable Menstruation On Campus and Beyond

  • AASHE (PA)
  • Dot Cup (IL)
  • Dallas College (TX)

Menstrual cups offer a sustainable solution to the environmental impact of tampons and pads and offer a solution for people who menstruate who, either because of location or economic insecurity ...

  • Posted March 10, 2022
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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