Waste Reduction

Website Numbers Waste


Facilities Management & Planning
began work to improve the University’s recycling efforts in 2006 when the Charles River Campus recycling rate was 3%. Since then, the CRC recycling rate has improved  climbing from 11% during the 2008/2009 academic year to 33% in 2014. This increase can be attributed to two factors: Dining Services moving to trayless dining and food waste composting, and the grassroots efforts of concerned faculty, staff and students across campus supported by the University supplied recycling bins and recycling pick-up.

In November 2009, the University began to roll out the recycling infrastructure needed to support a more complete program. This project was completed during the spring 2010 semester.  The campus was  divided into sections to best implement the system. Each week a new area was addressed by a team from Facilities Management & Planning including Senior Buyer, Mike Lyons, the University’s recycling coordinator,Will Matos, Assistant Director of Custodial Services, the appropriate Area Manager for custodial services, the Sustainability Liaison from the school or college, and a representative from Save That Stuff, the University’s recycling vendor. The team walked each floor in every building within the area to design a system that would integrate the recycling and waste stream systems in a way to increase the convenience of recycling and reduce the volume of the University’s waste.

Recycling coordinators across campus work with the sustainability@BU team and Mike Lyons, senior buyer in Facilities Management & Planning. If you’re interested in becoming a recycling coordinator for your area, please contact us.

Boston University recycles aluminum, cardboard, glass, paper, plastics, and clean milk and juice containers. In addition to these traditional materials, BU recycles batteries, cell phones, computers and other electronic waste, fluorescent light bulbs and ballasts, ink & toner cartridges, appliances, metals, and construction materials.

The Recycling and Waste Management Working Group works to identify best practices and opportunities to reduce, reuse and recycle University materials.

Specific responsibilities include:

  • developing a sustainable purchasing program
  • increasing recycled content and regional sourcing of purchased products and materials
  • reducing waste
  • increasing the University’s recycling rate

Learn more about Boston University’s Recycling Program
Learn more about Boston University’s Medical Campus Recycling Program

Some of the Boston University’s recent waste reduction projects:

Projects Completed:

  • Increased campus wide recycling rate from 10% in 2007 to 24% in 2010
  • Participated in Recyclemania
  • Paperless payroll
  • Yard waste composting program
  • Move-out Clothing and Shoe Drive saved 35.24 tons of donations for reuse
  • Diverted 54 tons of furniture for reuse overseas in May 2009
  • Installed bailers in all dining facilities to accommodate cardboard recycling
  • Recycled 4 tons of plastic and composted 7.5 tons of food waste during 2009 commencement
  • Handed out 4,500 reusable mugs at SPLASH and other venues to reduce the use and waste from paper cups at campus vendors. A 25 cent discount is now offered every time you use a reusable mug at these locations.
  • Implemented the We Bagged the Box program
  • Extended ink catridge and battery recycling to Resident Life Offices

Projects In Development:

  • Waste Reduction Strategic Plan
  • Supplier Sustainability Survey
  • Green purchasing policy
  • Duplex printing
  • Move-out Waste Diversion and Reuse Program
  • Move-in Waste Reduction and Recycling Program
  • Paperless class assignments
  • Paperless benefits program
  • Online paperless reporting
  • Recycling infrastructure roll-out
  • Reusable Shopping Bag Program

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