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Waste Initiatives

Stanford’s waste reduction efforts only go as far as the community who practices them. While the university has been recognized for its high recycling rates, the average person living on campus still produces around 34 pounds of trash per week. A number of initiatives aim to engage the campus to achieving zero waste by using less, and supporting campus recycling and composting efforts. 

Waste Training

Over half of what ends up in the trash at Stanford isn’t actually trash, according to nearly 30 campus waste audits. Learn how to properly sort your waste, recyclables, and compostables to help Stanford maximize its diversion rate. Contact PSSI to set up a group training and earn a Be Well berry!

Deskside Paper and Mini Trash Can Program

Keeping paper and plastic film out of the landfill is easier than ever with the deskside recycling and mini trash program. The program provides a small blue paper recycling bin accompanied by a mini black trash bin to campus office spaces.


Composting programs at Stanford divert about 190 tons or organic waste and food scraps from the landfill each month. At the same time, more can be done: campus waste audits show that nearly one third of what ends up in the trash is food, napkins, and other compostable material. Learn more about what is compostable on campus, where your closest compost is, and how to set up a composting program in your building here.

Cardinal Green Event Program

The Cardinal Green Events program offers customized training and resources to help event planners make their events more sustainable. Learn about best practices in waste reduction, catering, and outreach to reduce the environmental impact of your event. More about Cardinal Green Events.

Building Sustainability Performance

Stanford’s internal sustainability rating system for buildings allows users to track building performance in waste, energy, and water consumption in real time. To help accurately monitor waste production, collection routes for paper, paper/metal/glass, cardboard, compost and landfill were added to the Recycle IQ data collection system to track the volume of each material coming from campus buildings.  This data is used to determine each building’s recycling rate. Explore the map.