Everything we throw away is something that we don’t need. That may seem self-evident, but combined with life-cycle thinking it means an opportunity to reduce manufacturing emissions, energy consumption, transportation, and even raw materials extraction associated with whatever object we didn’t need. “Reduce, reuse, recycle” remains a powerful hierarchy of solid waste management, but there are even more details of product and materials management, economics, and urban ecology that can receive both our research attention and our operational attention.

Target actions for 2023

View actions for past fiscal years

Sustainability plan guiding principles

  •  Ensure students achieve sustainability literacy
  •  Choose our research conscientiously
  •  Keep equity and inclusion at the center
  •  Use resources responsibly
  •  Decarbonize

Steps we will take in FY23

  1. Work to create Zero Waste Task Force 
  2. Assess feasibility of a UW-wide single-use plastic policy 

Work to create Zero Waste Task Force 
UW Recycling will work to facilitate conversations between groups interested in participating in the Zero Waste Task Force. As UW Recycling does not have the ability to lead the Zero Waste Task Force on its own, they will discuss the tri-campus assessment’s key takeaways with numerous groups. They will start by continuing conversations with UW Sustainability and HFS. Support from leadership beyond our department will be necessary to create the task force.

Assess feasibility of a UW-wide single-use plastic policy
UW Sustainability will research the feasibility of creating a UW-wide single-use plastic policy, using the University of California policy as a possible model. UW Sustainability will research policies at the UC and other peer institutions, develop a possible draft policy and present benefits, costs and challenges of such a policy to stakeholders and the Environmental Stewardship Committee.