The new policy, one of several sustainability initiatives announced today, is expected to reduce waste by over 330,000 plastic water bottles per year.

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As part of an institution-wide drive toward creating a more sustainable campus, NYU President Andrew Hamilton today announced that NYU will no longer purchase single use plastic water bottles, effective January 1, 2020. The new policy is expected to reduce waste by over 330,000 plastic water bottles per year.

NYU has reduced carbon emissions by 30% -- equivalent to some 59,000 metric tons of carbon annually -- since 2007. That reduction is the equivalent of planting all of Manhattan and all of Brooklyn in forest. NYU is aiming for carbon neutrality by 2040.

The “bottle ban” is just one component of a larger group of initiatives shared today by NYU’s Assistant Vice President for Sustainability, Cecil Scheib, with the NYU University Senate. The plan, which can be found on the NYU Office of Sustainability website, also includes:

  • Replacing Fossil Fuel Vehicles with Electric Vehicles: Transitioning to all-electric Public Safety vehicles and shuttles;
  • Making Events More Sustainable: Improving sustainability standards for all events, beginning with only offering reusable and compostable dishware for Kimmel Center events, effective immediately;
  • Reducing K-cup Waste: Require all purchasers of K-Cup products to be enrolled in the Grounds to Grow On program, which composts and recycles the components of single-use coffee pods, or encourage direct bean to cup coffee service to minimize waste;
  • Engagement: Enhancing outreach and communications with new members of the campus community, reaching students during Welcome Week and employees during orientation on green practices and education on campus; and
  • Education: Creating a centralized repository for sustainability courses, programs, and events, as well as Office of Sustainability programs and key sustainability performance indicators.
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Residents of Silver Towers will now have access to an electric car charger, which was installed this week. Photo: Sapna Parikh

“In his inauguration speech, President Hamilton committed to making NYU among the greenest urban campuses in the nation, and these measures continue moving us rapidly down the road to realizing that goal,” said Scheib. “Thankfully, we have a very engaged community of students, faculty, staff, and administrators, many of whom contributed some of these ideas we’ve embraced through last year’s Office of Sustainability crowdsourcing campaign, Sustainability at NYU.

“Our ultimate goal – reaching carbon neutrality by 2040 – is an ambitious one, but one that is well within our grasp if we continue to work together as a community to make meaningful changes in our practices,” Scheib added. “This is just the beginning.”

The NYU Office of Sustainability is committed to reducing waste and energy consumption while raising awareness around environmental issues on campus. This year, NYU recently installed an electric car charger for residents in Silver Towers, and will install its first rooftop photovoltaic project atop Bobst Library. Additional initiatives include banning the use of single use plastic straws, integrating of sustainability into the campus dining and catering services contract, and capital commitments to make NYU buildings more energy efficient.

For more information about campus sustainability efforts, including the peer-education EcoReps and internal Green Grants programs, visit the NYU Office of Sustainability.