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Zero Waste by 2030

In 2019, a waste characterization study revealed that with proper sorting and additional programs, Stanford could send as little as 6% of the waste to landfill. With this information, the Office of Sustainability designed a campus plan aimed at achieving Zero Waste, defined as 90% diversion from the landfill or higher, by 2030. The University's Zero Waste Plan has established a new waste system that adopts best practices, industry standards, and efficiency standards to ensure all waste is disposed of correctly. This new system, currently coined as the Zero Waste Building System Transition, will not only help us reach our zero waste goal, but will also reduce exposure to germs and pathogens, keep bins more sanitary, and meet future state regulations.

Zero Waste Building System Transition

An initial pilot of 14 buildings began in April of 2021. The pilot resulted in dramatic increases in diversion rate across all of the participating buildings. To date, 96 (volunteer) buildings are early adopters of the new system.

How to Contribute to a Zero-Waste Campus

  1. Educate yourself on the new system: Zero Waste Pilot Waste Sorting Guidelines
  2. Sort your waste using the centralized bins.
    • If in doubt, find out!
    • We will be auditing the waste bins to check on contamination levels and providing feedback to buildings.
  3. Use reusable coffee cups, water bottles and utensils. BYO!
    • Compostable alternatives are great in a pinch, but are not better than reusables.


Julie Muir, Zero Waste Systems Manager, Office of Sustainability (