NYU’s commitment to waste minimization may be traced back through several decades. New York City passed the first of its many recycling laws in 1989, and in 1990, NYU’s Recycling Program was established. NYU’s recycling rates doubled several times throughout the decade and created a model for institutionalized recycling in New York City, as well as setting the course that helped many other sustainability ideas to flourish on campus. In fact, Recycling Services was the first administrative office at NYU to propose the launch of an institution-wide sustainability initiative.
On average NYU generates about 350 tons of solid waste and 140 tons of recycling per month. About 60% of NYU’s landfilled waste is compostable, while 28% of it is recyclable material, so we could potentially reduce landfilled waste to only 7%. Emissions of carbon dioxide and methane emissions associated with the landfilling and incineration of NYU’s municipal solid waste stream currently accounts for 1.9% of NYU’s direct greenhouse gas emissions.
NYU's Waste Diversion
Waste reduction measures across campus have included an institutional food waste composting program in dining facilities coupled with trayless dining, removal of bottled water from student meal plans, and expansion of collection stations for recycling. NYU is working on further increasing its diversion rate through pairing landfill with recycling bins, education, and identifying source reduction opportunities.
Since 2009, NYU has had a mixed recycling system, accepting all plastics, glass, metals, and paper in one bin. Working together, we have raised diversion rates to 30 percent, a level twice as high as the diversion rate of the rest of NYC!
How is our mixed recycling system possible? Take an inside look at Action Carting’s Optical Sorting System here.
In 2010, NYU took waste minimization to the next level by introducing several new composting initiatives.
Current projects include composting in both the front and back of dining halls, in academic departments of Wagner and Residence Halls of Law School, with efforts continuing to improve every year.
At NYU, technoscrap bins are used to collect smaller items that use plugs, batteries, or store information electronically, including: cell phones, USB drives, cables, wiring, digital cameras, and MP3 players.
Please note that batteries, printer ink, toner, and lightbulbs should not be included in your technoscrap bin. These items should be collected separately. Faculty, staff and administrators should collect these and submit a work order through the Client Services Center for pick-up when a significant number has accumulated in order to ensure proper disposal. In residence halls, bring them to your resource center where collections bins can be found.
If you live off-campus, be sure to familiarize yourself with NYC’s new e-waste law.
For information regarding our recycling & waste programs, visit our waste initiatives section.
Coming soon! Learn about our latest efforts to track and display energy across the University
Visit our What We Offer page to learn more about our specific projects
Want to learn more about waste and how it relates to sustainability....here are a few resources to get you started