university recycling bins

Become a zero waste campus

With so many passionate staff and students, universities are a great place to inspire action and achieve big goals like becoming a zero waste campus.


But waste diversion is a BIG challenge on campus...even with a strong recycling program, most campuses struggle to achieve a 50% waste diversion rate...with some studies suggesting that the average recycling rate among American universities is 25% or less.


To put your campus on a path to zero waste, you need a solid foundation that can adapt to changing student populations while incorporating  new best practices over time.

overflowing trash

The challenge

a campus is a mini-city

With a mix of multi-use buildings, colleges and universities are microcosms of modern urban areas and require a city-sized waste management program to achieve long-term sustained success.

The solution

Standardize, Engage & Innovate

The first step is developing a waste management plan driven by standardization and efficiency. Different unique tactics must be deployed for the dorms, food services, office, classroom, athletic, and other areas of the campus while still maintaining a unified strategy throughout.


Training and communication are vital to the success of any waste management program but especially with so many stakeholders and use-areas present. A mix of engagement tactics is vital to ensuring a campus's rotating population is aware of your waste separation guidelines.


Campuses are perfect hubs for innovative waste management solutions to reduce waste or increase waste diversion. Once a sound foundation is in place, sustainability managers need to engage staff and students to put innovative best practices in place.


waste training reduction in motion
campus waste audit
recycling contamination msw

Where to start

conduct a waste audit

Waste data is notoriously frustrating to collect and interpret, especially when you are a campus with different buildings and hauling equipment. Many campuses have countless small dumpsters and lack accurate waste generation data, so a waste audit is vital to determining true waste composition. Campus waste audits must be well-planned to account for such an array of buildings and stakeholders.


We have helped several campuses as a waste audit company and zero waste consultant. We can design a zero waste assessment that engages staff and students to conduct a waste audit and design a waste management system that establishes a strong foundation and a future path to zero waste.


We have worked with environmental and sustainability champions on campuses to help them on their journey to zero waste and have a service package designed specifically for campuses.