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

924 resources

Zero Waste Game Day at Duke University

  • Duke University (NC)

Leading up to the 2014 Duke Football season, a formal partnership was created between Duke Athletics, Duke Recycling, Duke Stores, and the Duke Sustainability Office in order to successfully achieve ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
  • Case Studies
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UW–Madison Receipt Reduction Project

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (WI)

Over a span of two years, teams of students, faculty, and staff at the University of Wisconsin–Madison eliminated mandatory receipt printing at campus dining centers, restaurants, markets, and cafes ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
  • Case Studies
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Bagging the Disposable Plastic Bag

  • Case Western Reserve University (OH)
  • Bon Appétit Management Company

The Student Sustainability Council at Case Western Reserve University removed disposable plastic bags from campus dining locations and replaced them with reusable bags.

  • Posted June 10, 2016
  • Case Studies
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Changing Norms by Changing Behavior: The Princeton Drink Local Program

  • Princeton University (NJ)

Unprecedented levels of global bottled water consumption present a major challenge for the environment and water conservation initiatives. Educational institutions are in a unique position to promote conservation behavior by ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
  • Publications
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Brown's- A California Cafe

  • University of California, Berkeley (CA)

This August, Cal Dining opened brown’s- a california café. By design, over 80% of the ingredients used are sourced locally from within 250 miles of the UC Berkeley campus ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
  • Case Studies
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Ohio University Move-Out Sustainability Project

  • Ohio University (OH)

Each year during student Move Out week, Ohio University's Department of Recycling and Zero Waste partners with the City of Athens, Athens Hocking Recycling Center, local businesses, community non-profit ...

Recycle Your Plastics

  • American Chemistry Council (DC)

RecycleYourPlastics.org is an easy to use resource on plastics recycling for recycling professionals. The site includes resources such as user-friendly tips and tools, best practices, ready access to experts ...

Development of a Novel Food Waste Collection Kiosk and Waste-to-Energy Business Model

  • University of Toledo (OH)

The US generates more than 37 million metric tons of food waste each year and over 95% of it is disposed of at US landfills. This paper describes the development ...

Love Food, Hate Waste: Analyzing Food Waste and Reduction at Rice University

  • Rice University (TX)

It is known that about 30% of food produced worldwide is ultimately wasted (Gunders 2012). Rice University is not immune to this phenomenon, and past research has shown that Rice ...

Quantifying the components of the mass and energy balance of a black soldier fly (BSF) food waste composting system

  • Rochester Institute of Technology (NY)

Project Description:

An academic institution represents a constrained system that generates a consistent amount of waste. Bioconversion of organic food waste with Black solider fly (Hermetia illucens;Diptera: Stratiomyidae) larave ...

Unifying Campus Efforts in Pursuit of Green Restaurant Certification at UC Irvine's East Food Court

  • University of California, Irvine (CA)

UC Irvine's East Food Court became a Certified Green Restaurant on November 5, 2015 and upgraded its certification from 2-Star to 3-Star on April 22, 2016 through significant interdepartmental ...

From in-vessel campus composting to sustainable urban farming: connecting science with education and community service

  • Kean University (NJ)

Kean University runs a food scrap composting program with a custom-designed in-vessel composter capable of composting up to 1000 pounds of food scraps per day. It diverts food scraps from ...

Stash It, Don’t Trash It Move-Out Reuse Initiative

  • College of Saint Benedict (MN)

As the semester nears its end, students from all over campus pitch their unwanted items to the curb. These items range from unopened soup cans to couches and mini fridges ...

Grizz's Garage: Dorm Item Resale

  • University of Puget Sound (WA)

During Spring Move-Out, students donate their unwanted but still usable dorm items, such as shower caddies, rugs, and hangers, and then the items are re-sold to first-year students during Fall ...

One-Class-One-Project: Using service learning to engage students in sustainability

  • Florida Gulf Coast University (FL)

The University Colloquium is the sustainability capstone to the Florida Gulf Coast University experiences that utilizes service learning as a tool to engage students in experiential learning within the community ...

Map More, Waste Less: A Study in How GIS Helps Texas A&M Prevent Waste

  • Texas A&M University (TX)


During the Spring of 2016, the Texas A&M Geography Society, a student organization that performs undergraduate Geographic Information Systems (GIS) research, set out to help SSC Services for Education ...

Boston University Zero Waste Commencement

  • Aramark (PA)

Boston University is a private research institution located in Boston, Massachusetts with approximately 33,000 undergradate and graduate students. During Commencement week, Boston University Dining Services/Aramark serves more than ...

Reusable water bottle for incoming freshmen

  • University of Michigan (MI)

Reusable water bottles are being provided to all incoming freshmen at the University of Michigan as a Planet Blue Sustainability initiative. The project was piloted for 3 years and is ...

What’s Wrong with the Tap? Examining Perceptions of Tap Water and Bottled Water at Purdue University

  • Saint Mary's University of Minnesota (MN)
  • Purdue University (IN)

The environmental impacts of bottled water prompted us to explore drinking water choices at Purdue University, located in West Lafayette, IN. A random sample of 2,045 Purdue University students ...

UC Irvine Styrofoam Recycling Pilot Program

  • University of California, Irvine (CA)

As UC Irvine strives to become a Zero Waste campus by 2020, the Facilities Management Sustainability Team of student workers has become more innovative in the ways to divert materials ...

Leading by Collaboration: Institutional composting on a non-residential campus

  • Johnson County Community College (KS)

JCCC's composting initiatives have changed operational practices and enriched campus culture in many ways. Those directly involved in our composting work are passionate about reducing food waste, handling it ...

The Sustainable Bookstore: Giving New Life to Discarded University Library Books

  • Appalachian State University (NC)

When the Appalachian State University library culled its stacks, close to 80,000 books were slated to be recycled. Many of these books, some dating back to the late 1800s ...

Student Sustainability Sculptures Contest

  • Johnson County Community College (KS)

Beginning in 2011, Johnson County Community College art faculty member Mark Cowardin assigned his Sculpture II students a project requiring the design, proposal, planning, and installation of a public art ...

SRU Earth Days 2016

  • Slippery Rock University (PA)

“Earth Days 2016” was Slippery Rock University’s annual Earth Day celebration involving fun and educational events aimed at increasing awareness and knowledge regarding sustainability, climate change, and preserving resources ...

NC State University Students Leverage Partnerships To Eliminate Plastic Bags on Campus

  • North Carolina State University (NC)

Over a three-year period, the NC State Stewards collaborated with the university’s Campus Enterprises division to move toward the elimination of single-use plastic bags in the most wasteful locations ...

UMass New2U Reuse Collection and Tag Sale

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst (MA)

New2U is a student-led program that is in its 3rd year of operation. New2U collects unwanted items from across campus each spring during move-out and resells these collected item each ...

Warriors Don’t Waste: Improving the Waste Stream at Eastern Connecticut State University.

  • Eastern Connecticut State University (CT)

In early 2015 Eastern’s Green Campus Committee started to tackle the major initiative of improving the campus waste stream. In taking on this project the committee knew that there ...

Implementing sustainability education with undergraduate business courses, A case study

  • Alfred State College (NY)

The purpose of this submission is to discuss experiential learning related to strategic management and environmental sustainability. The paper outlines one case of implementing project-based sustainability education within the BUAD ...

University of Redlands Proposal for Expanded Composting

  • University of Redlands (CA)

We are currently living in a time with inequity, economic instability and environmental degradation. The University of Redlands campus claims to be sustainable, however, we lack many forms of renewable ...

University of Redlands Proposal for Expanded Composting

  • University of Redlands (CA)

We are currently living in a time with inequity, economic instability and environmental degradation. The University of Redlands campus claims to be sustainable, however, we lack many forms of renewable ...

Earth Days 2016 at Johnson County Community College

  • Johnson County Community College (KS)

Our Earth Days 2016 events included several activities in addition to those pictured here, but these were two of our most popular. Epicenter, a one-day, student-focused conference on careers in ...

SustainableCI "What's On Your Plate" Challenge

  • California State University, Channel Islands (CA)

GIven California's drought situation, it was important to have a water themed challenge for Earth Day 2016, and using http://graphics.latimes.com/food-water-footprint/ as a reference source, "What ...

University of New Hampshire Dumpster Dive

  • University of New Hampshire (NH)

The “Earth Day Dumpster Dive,” was organized by the UNH Sustainability Institute and the Zero Waste Task Force and sought to examine the waste habits of the campus community in ...

Earth Day at California State University, East Bay!

  • California State University, East Bay (CA)

The Zero Waste Team was out tabling this Earth Day along with the Solar Club, GIS, ASI, the Biology Department, Transportation and Parking Services, and other organizations on campus!

  • Posted April 28, 2016
  • Photographs
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Stock Images for Waste Signs

  • Babson College (MA)

Cut-out images with transparent backgrounds of various items for use in recycling, trash, and compost informational materials.

Images created by Connie Hsu and Sheen Hui for the Babson College Sustainability ...

  • Posted April 26, 2016
  • Outreach Materials
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Food Scraps Composting on College/University Campuses: A Step-by-Step Guide

  • FOR Solutions, LLC (NJ)

In "Food Scraps Composting on College/University Campuses: A Step-by-Step Guide", you will learn:

  • How to select the proper technology for composting on your campus.

  • How to implement that technology ...

  • Posted April 25, 2016
  • Publications
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Food Scraps Composting Laboratory

  • Kean University (NJ)

Kean University in New Jersey installed a rotary drum composter to process pre and postconsumer food waste from campus dining facilities.

  • Posted April 25, 2016
  • Publications
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Recycling system at the University of Iceland

  • University of Iceland

In February 2016 changes were made to the recycling system at the University of Iceland in order to conform with the City of Reykjavík. The changes affect the blue bags ...

  • Posted April 25, 2016
  • Videos & Webinars
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Eco Hawks: Sustainability @ UIowa

  • University of Iowa (IA)

Climate change is the greatest issue of our time and sustainability is the solution. Here at the University of Iowa, a place that provides services to not only Iowans but ...

  • Posted April 22, 2016
  • Videos & Webinars
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North D Compost Pilot

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst (MA)
  • Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MA)

After conducting a waste audit of the North Apartment Residential Complex in October of 2014, it was found that approximately 27% of the trash stream consisted of food waste and ...

  • Posted April 6, 2016
  • Case Studies
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Compendium of Organics Recovery Programs at Colleges and Universities

  • University of Louisville (KY)
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (DC)

The Center for Environmental Policy and Management at the University of Louisville in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4 and select southeastern U.S. schools have ...

  • Posted April 6, 2016
  • Publications
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Plastic Free Campus Manual

  • Post-Landfill Action Network (NH)

This document will help guide you through the process of helping your campus go plastic-free. Comprised of over 60 pages worth of training, best-practices guidance, case studies and project resources ...

  • Posted March 31, 2016
  • Publications
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  • Keep America Beautiful (CT)
  • College & University Recycling Coalition (DC)

RecycleMania is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities. Over an 8-week period each spring, colleges ...

Waste Reduction Model (WARM)

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (DC)

The US EPA's Waste Reduction Model (WARM) calculates and totals GHG emissions of baseline and alternative waste management practices—source reduction, recycling, combustion, composting, and landfilling. The model calculates ...

Zero Waste Database

  • College & University Recycling Coalition (DC)

The mission of this database is to create a useful, comprehensive resource for recycling and waste reduction advocates:

Baseline:  "What practices are out there?  Who and how many are doing ...

Food Recovery Verified

  • Food Recovery Network (MD)

Food Recovery Verified (FRV) is a program of Food Recovery Network that recognizes institutions, businesses and events for sending their surplus food to people, not landfills.

Zero Waste Football

  • University of Colorado Boulder (CO)

The first season of zero waste football at CU Boulder.

  • Posted March 11, 2016
  • Videos & Webinars
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Tailgate Waste Diversion

  • University of Southern California (CA)

USC Sustainability and Facilities Management Services are partnering to reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfill on campus during football tailgates. Student facilitators educate tailgaters on how to ...

  • Posted March 11, 2016
  • Videos & Webinars
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Ohio State University Zero Waste

  • The Ohio State University (OH)

Ohio Stadium is the largest stadium in the country to attempt zero waste; diverting 90 percent of materials from the landfill by recycling and composting. Ohio State is leading the ...

  • Posted March 11, 2016
  • Videos & Webinars
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All About No Waste (Meghan Trainor - All About That Bass Parody)

  • Stanford University (CA)



Vocals: Stephanie Fischer

Backing Vocals: Sonja Johnson-Yu and Akua Odoom

Lyrics: Mr. Eco

Video: Brian Christ Films ...

  • Posted March 3, 2016
  • Videos & Webinars
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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.