Waste Management Solutions for Sustainable Campuses

Sustainability is increasingly important to students and staff, but colleges and universities have a long way to go to meet their mission. Less than one-quarter of students surveyed rated their school as very sustainable. When you consider that a majority of students said environmental sustainability played a role in their college enrollment decision, and 30% said it was a top-three factor in selection, demonstrating sustainability throughout campus is critical.

One area where you can make quick gains—and increase visibility—is in higher education waste management solutions that promote campus recycling. Customized indoor and outdoor recycling bins throughout campus can make a great first impression on prospective students, and also provides them with a constant reminder about eco-friendly practices when they join the campus.

The Campus Waste Problem

Each college student in a residence hall generates about 640 pounds of waste each year. Despite student interest in sustainability, overall campus recycling rates remain low, with non-recyclable items like food waste and plastic making their way into recycling bins. Issues like overflowing bins, lack of sorting options, and inaccessibility demonstrate a need for better higher education waste management solutions optimized for campus recycling.

Making Campus Recycling Easy for Students

Implementing customized and creatively designed recycling and trash bins normalizes sustainability practices on campus. Bins with school logos and colors make waste sorting part of the university culture and help students make better decisions about waste disposal.

Clear signage and labeling help students correctly identify recycling vs. trash items, minimizing contamination in collections. Institutions leading in sustainability showcase waste sorting stations within central hubs like quads, libraries, dining halls, and throughout campus.

The Impact of Campus Recycling

With upgraded waste management solutions centered on enabling campus recycling, colleges and universities can significantly increase their recycling rates and divert waste from landfills. Some studies show as much as a 50% improvement in capturing recyclable materials when schools pilot campus recycling solutions on a broad scale.

School and campus recycling conserves natural resources, minimizes environmental impacts from materials manufacturing, and reduces their carbon footprints. Properly capturing and segregating waste streams can also lead to rebates and savings from lowered waste hauling costs.

Both indoor and outdoor recycling bins showcase school commitments to sustainability. Even indoor mini bins can make a big difference. When Cornell University added smaller bins throughout buildings, it reduced its landfill waste by 55% and reduced recyclable materials thrown in the trash by 22%. Such practices can also pay off financially in savings from lowered waste hauling costs.

Taking the Lead in Sustainable Waste Management Solutions for Higher Education

Installing customized, conveniently located recycling and waste bins provides the infrastructure needed to improve recycling behaviors and reach campus sustainability goals. While colleges and universities require high initial investments in waste management solutions for higher education to enable robust campus recycling programs, over the long term, the environmental, reputational, and cost reduction benefits are substantial.

As leaders in education, colleges and universities have a unique opportunity to also lead in responsible recycling and waste practices. Implementing strategic waste management solutions provides the foundation for building comprehensive campus sustainability initiatives with recycling at the forefront.

How E&I Cooperative Services Helps

E&I Cooperative Services makes sustainable higher education waste management solutions easy with ready-to-use cooperative contracts with leading suppliers such as Prestwick and Recycle Away.

These companies provide indoor and outdoor recycling bins that are made sustainably from recycled materials and are customizable with school colors, logos, and messaging. Other recycled and remanufactured products, such as tables, chairs, benches, storage boxes, workstations, and signage, are also available to help meet broader sustainability goals and qualify for LEED credits.

E&I Cooperative Services is a non-profit, member-owned sourcing cooperative that focuses exclusively on the education community. By leveraging the bulk buying power of its 6,000 members, E&I creates economies of scale to produce greater savings and terms favorable to educational institutions.

Procurement teams can browse available contracts and opt-in at no cost. There is no obligation to use E&I and no minimum purchase amounts. However, many suppliers offer discounts for bulk orders.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your dedicated E&I member relations representative.


We use cookies to make your experience better!

Skip to content