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

872 resources

College & University Recycling Coalition (CURC) Membership Meeting

  • University of South Carolina (SC)

Members and non-members alike are invited to join this annual CURC membership meeting. Board members will provide organizational updates, discuss current projects, and share opportunities to get involved. The meeting ...

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Rebel Rot: An Engineering Capstone Project to Convert a Dumpster into an In-Vessel Composter

  • University of Nevada Las Vegas (NV)

Building off a past AASHE presentation (2017) by Dr. Brian Barnes from the University of Louisville, the University of Nevada Las Vegas Sustainability Coordinator partnered with the College of Engineering ...

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Can You Dig It?: Integrating Vermicomposting at UC Berkeley

  • University of California, Berkeley (CA)

Our project was initially inspired by the work in progress at the CSU - Sacramento Sustainable Technology Optimization Research Center (STORC). They are implementing a new processing system for their campus ...

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Building on Your Institutional Strengths to Reduce Food Waste

  • Unity College (ME)

Unity College had a small scale limited food waste collection system in the dining halls on campus. By working with a local partner, the food waste that could be collected ...

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Composting and Organics Collection: Is it Happening On Your Campus?

  • University of Arizona (AZ)
  • US Composting Council (MD)

University and college campuses across the nation are increasingly adding food scraps collection and, often, the operation of compost or anaerobic digestion facilities to their 'green' portfolio to achieve STARS ...

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Reducing Odorous Emissions from Compost With Bio Filters

  • Thompson Rivers University (BC)

In 2014 Thompson Rivers University published its campus Sustainability Action plan that identified priorities to become a green campus. Zero waste was identified as a major priority, including the capturing ...

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Zero-Waste Initiative: Composting at Events

  • University of Arizona (AZ)

Public events tend to be extremely wasteful. When a county fair, culinary festival, fundraising campaign, or community garden potluck are organized, the overall aim is to create an enjoyable atmosphere ...

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Resource Management Contracting- How It Can All Go Wrong When You Do Everything Right

  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (WI)

With stagnant recycling and diversion rates, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee sought to get aggressive with its haulers, data collection, and its plan for waste reduction. UWM set out to achieve ...

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Bin There, Done That: Mapping CSUN's Outdoor Waste Infrastructure

  • California State University, Northridge (CA)

To prepare for the implementation of CSUN's Zero Waste Plan, and to comply with new stormwater pollution mandates, the Facilities Planning department at CSU Northridge created an internship for ...

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Implementing an Effective Campus Recycling & Waste Bin Infrastructure

  • University of California, Los Angeles (CA)
  • CleanRiver Recycling Solutions (ON)

A uniform system of well-designed recycling and waste bins is crucial for colleges to achieve significant diversion rates. The challenge is to identify bins that can address four key needs ...

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Identifying Holistic Metrics to Redefine Zero Waste

  • 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 ...

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Using Waste Reduction Technology to Adopt a Circular Economy

  • Busch Systems (ON)

This presentation will focus on waste management and the new shift to a circular economy. We will investigate the environmental and economic opportunities of a circular economy. We will study ...

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Lessons From the Compost Pile: a Facilitated Conversation About Campus Compost Initiatives

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (WI)

This meeting will focus on institutional compost collection and processing systems. It will be an opportunity to share experiences, ask questions, and connect with others engaged in campus composting efforts ...

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How Might we Create a Sustainable Make-A-Thon to Inform Students About Sustainable Design?

  • University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (MN)

Design U every year puts on the 10,000 makes 24 hour Make-A-Thon where we bring in engineers, designers, business students and whoever else wants to join to essentially make ...

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University Zero Waste Research Center Networking Session

  • University of California, Berkeley (CA)

The student-led Zero Waste Research Center at UC Berkeley works to create circular economies on the UC Berkeley campus by investigating innovative upstream and downstream solutions to campus waste problems ...

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Engaging Housekeeping Staff for Zero Waste Success

  • The Ohio State University (OH)

Contamination of single-stream recycling is one of the most significant obstacles to waste diversion. While campus culture promotes recycling, users do not reliably recycle correctly. The result is a contaminated ...

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Achieving Zero Waste and Campus-Wide Compost Bins: Progress from Swarthmore College

  • Swarthmore College (PA)

In 2017, Swarthmore College formalized its commitment to achieving a Zero Waste campus, with an interim goal of reaching an 80% diversion rate by 2022. This ambitious commitment, which built ...

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How to Run Initiatives on Campus That Will Lower Waste

  • Southern Oregon University (OR)

Having an 'eco' conscious lifestyle has been mainly about buying 'green' items so we can lower our impact on this planet. Today, our problem is not about buying items but ...

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Responsible Consumption and Production: An Academic Year Deep Dive

  • Lafayette College (PA)

During this session, we'll take a look at the opportunities to promote recycling and reuse during the academic year at a small liberal arts college. We'll chart out ...

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A Multi-Method Approach to Increasing Campus Diversion

  • Georgia State University (GA)

This session will provide insight on how the largest university in the state of Georgia went from a 10% diversion rate to 49% in just 4 years with few resources ...

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Engaging College Students With Sustainability and Human Rights Through Bottles and Cans

  • Colgate University (NY)

The subject of my presentation will be UCan, a not-for-profit recycling system I launched as a first-year student at Colgate University in the Fall of 2017. UCan is a recycling ...

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Fats, Oils and Grease - 'Don't Flush It'

  • Georgia College & State University (GA)

Georgia College & State University (GC) in partnership with the City of Milledgeville's Waste Water Treatment Program in Milledgeville, GA, have joined to educate the campus community on waste ...

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Break Free From Plastic on Your Campus

  • Post-Landfill Action Network (NH)

Cities and Countries across the world are making commitments to reduce their reliance on single use disposable plastics. It's time for campuses to follow suit. From swag to coffee ...

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Off-Campus Student Housing Recycling Program

  • University of Nebraska - Lincoln (NE)

Over 68 percent of students at the University of Nebraska Lincoln live in off-campus student housing, and many are conforming to the trend of residing in luxury student apartments. In ...

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From Diversion to Prevention: Re-imagining Waste

  • Bow Valley College (AB)

This is a story of a campus that has moved from seeing waste as merely a municipal bylaw, to diversion targets, and is now moving toward re-imagining waste as a ...

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Accessible and Ethical E-Waste: Adaptability in Infrastructure

  • University of California, Berkeley (CA)

This presentation is a case study on implementing an accessible and ethical e-waste system in UC Berkeley, where previously no affordable options had been available to students despite the hundreds ...

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Western State Colorado University Role in Advancing SDGs- Road Map to Institutionalizing Zero Waste

  • Western Colorado University (CO)

Higher education plays critical roles in the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). More specifically, higher education should strategically strive in its physical operations in advancing the ...

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A Residential Recycling Competition at Skidmore College

  • Skidmore College (NY)

Energy conservation competitions are a cornerstone project in many schools' outreach efforts, and this program utilized a similar approach to address apartment waste patterns. This recycling and compost-oriented competition involved ...

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A Zero Waste Campus is Possible

  • Post-Landfill Action Network (NH)

In this workshop we will facilitate student discussion around the waste crisis including the problems, solutions, and then empowering them to take action on their campuses. We draw on our ...

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Thinking Outside of the Trash: Waste Policy Implementation and Education at Emory University

  • Emory University (GA)

Emory University consulted with Cascadia and Burns & McDonnell during 2016-2017 to assess Emory's materials management program and make recommendations for innovative and programmatic strategies to help Emory achieve ...

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Using Waste Audit Data to Drive Waste Reduction, Diversion, and Engagement

  • Northwestern University (IL)
  • Oakton Community College (IL)
  • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (IL)
  • University of Richmond (VA)

Unlike other utilities, such as electricity and natural gas, actual waste and recycling data are more difficult to track. The lack of ready to use data creates challenges in goal ...

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Expanding the Horizons of Campus Recycling: Assessing Expanded Polystyrene Waste in Higher Education

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (WI)

College and university campuses strive to minimize waste and promote thoughtful disposal practices among campus residents. However, one material that presents unique challenges to responsibly manage is expanded polystyrene (EPS ...

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Utilizing Waste Management Plans in Residence Halls: A Case Study

  • University of South Carolina (SC)

In large universities, waste and recycling can be a daunting task to take on and fix. At the University of South Carolina, there are 28 residence halls, all built slightly ...

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Zero Waste Campus: Mitigating Landfill Waste on an Urban College Campus

  • College of Charleston (SC)

Charleston, South Carolina is a coastal city that is home to the College of Charleston, an integrated city campus. As the city is on the forefront to experiencing rising sea ...

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Sustaining the Borderlands: A Discussion on Food Waste in the Southwest

  • University of Arizona (AZ)

Tucson, Arizona is situated 60 miles from the United States/Mexico International border. The nearest port of entry, Nogales, is one of the largest landlocked ports in North America. This ...

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Vermicompost: A Study of Alternative Composting in Arid Climates

  • University of Arizona (AZ)

Traditional composting methods will often yield a nutrient-rich fertilizer. However, when such methods are performed in an arid climate, such as the Sonoran Desert, additional precautions must be taken to ...

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From Bags to Boards: The Experimentation Behind the Recycled Building Material "BagBoard"

  • University of North Carolina, Wilmington (NC)

In the United States alone, the EPA estimates that 380 BILLION plastic bags are used once and then discarded. The answer to this plastic plague may come from the small ...

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Data-Driven Planning for Campus Materials Management - From Inputs Through Outputs

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MA)

While the higher education sustainability field is grappling with materials management challenges, from procurement through waste operations, there are limited tools and processes for data-driven planning. University campuses yield the ...

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Lessons from Year 1 of Turning the Page on Campus Paper Use

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

Join this session to learn about the experiences of the initial cohort and AASHE's Turning the Page on Campus Paper Use program. Organized in partnership with behavior change specialists ...

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10,000 Makes Mini Sustainable Product Make-A-Thon

  • University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (MN)

This workshop is the Design U 10 Thousand Makes Make-A-Thon but in a smaller workshop format. The 10,000 Makes Make-A-Thon is give them a pile of reused materials and ...

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Measuring Student Attitudes Towards Sustainable Development With a One-Semester Sustainovation

  • Penn State Brandywine (PA)

In Fall 2017, Penn State Brandywine kicked off an initiative titled Sustainovation, emphasizing programming and community collaborations through sustainability and innovation. The campus identified three community partners to work with ...

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How to Get Reusable Dining Containers on Your Campus!

  • Northern Arizona University (AZ)

Many campuses serve food at dining locations in single-use plastics. These plastics may be recyclable, but unfortunately, these containers are rarely cleaned. As a result, the recycling is contaminated. In ...

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Using Catering to Create a Virtuous Cycle of Sustainability in Your Community

  • Emory University (GA)
  • America To Go (NY)

Sustainability practitioners are constantly grappling with the hard questions: How to overcome inertia of the status quo? How to get others to adopt change? How to get businesses that could ...

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Green Dining at Georgia State University

  • Georgia State University (GA)

Georgia State's insourced dining services, PantherDining, continues to impress and promote sustainability throughout campus. With the help from the Student Sustainability Fee Fund, PantherDining recently launched Freight Farms' Leafy ...

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Closing the Food Loop

  • University of Pittsburgh (PA)

As a group of student from three different universities and a diverse range of interests, we all noticed that there were many problems with the current food system. To start ...

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Closing the Loop: Building a Healthy and Sustainable Campus Food System

  • California State University, Northridge (CA)

California State University, Northridge (CSUN) has made remarkable changes to its food landscape in the past few years. Our campus supports and hosts multiple organic food learning gardens as well ...

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Empowering Student Leaders to Create a Zero Waste Food Court

  • University of California, Irvine (CA)
  • Aramark Higher Education (PA)

In order to divert 95% of solid waste from the landfill, UCI Hospitality & Dining (HDS) and Aramark collaborate with Social Ecology Field Study interns, Campus as a Living Lab ...

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BYO[Solutions]: Reuse Programs in Campus Dining

  • University of Pittsburgh (PA)

College campuses are hubs of waste, from plastic bags to disposable food containers and single-use coffee cups. However, universities can use this opportunity to implement waste-reduction programs with the aim ...

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Renewable Energy for Campus Facilities Services

  • Black Hills State University (SD)

Through our case study, we were able to demonstrate that a self-sustaining biodiesel program could be effectively operated on the Black Hills State University campus as well as potentially other ...

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Greening the Chemistry Research and Teaching Labs: Resources to Increase Safety and Reduce Waste

  • University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (MN)
  • Beyond Benign (MA)

University and college campuses across the United States are pushing the envelope on greening their campus facilities, operations, and processes. However, despite their disproportionate consumption of resources, laboratories are often ...

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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).

Scores

The following link connects to the Score Display on the STARS website (AASHE membership and log-in required).

Waste Partners

Pharos Systems International

Rochester, NY
Business Leader
A certified B Corp, Pharos helps universities reveal wasteful habits and hidden costs making campus printing less expensive, more mindful, and more sustainable.

Veritiv

Sandy Springs, GA
Business Supporter

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.

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

Framingham, MA
Business Affiliate

Max-R

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.

RRS

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.

Textbooks for Change

Toronto, ON
Business Affiliate
Textbooks for Change sustainably provides educational material to those both locally and abroad.

The Campus Kitchens Project

Washington, DC
Business Affiliate
Empowering students to create innovative and sustainable solutions to food waste and hunger.