Minimizing waste contributes to a more sustainable Stanford in many ways. By using less, reusing more, recycling and composting, Stanford can preserve land, save energy, conserve water, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and preserve natural resources.
The university is making great progress. Stanford has increased its landfill diversion rate from 30 percent in 1994 to 64 percent in 2013. The university is continually improving collection activities, identifying new markets for waste materials and recyclables, and raising awareness so that “reduce, reuse, recycle and compost” becomes habit.
Goals & Results
Stanford's initial goal is to increase its rate of waste diverted from landfill to 75 percent by 2020. This will help pave the road to zero waste, which is defined as at least 90 percent diversion.
Stanford has performed 20 waste audits over the past 2 years, each with informative results. By weight, the trash dumpsters audited contained the following:
- 7% Aluminum Cans, Plastic Bottles and Glass Jars
- 17% Office Paper and Paper Packaging
- 1% Film Plastic
- 3% Metals
- 1% E-Waste
- 4% Wood and Construction/Demolition
- 4% Reusables
- 31% Organics: Food Scraps and Compostable Service Ware
- 1% Toilet Paper Rolls (1/2 full)
- 7% Paper Towels
- 0% Styrofoam
- 24% Real Trash
Stanford uses these findings to inform its recycling programs and ultimately increase the university's waste diversion rate.