The Catholic University of America is committed to reducing the amount of waste on campus through a zero waste approach.  

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    Zero waste moves beyond recycling to incorporate other pathways to reduce all waste streams from entering and exiting Catholic University. This systems based approach aims to change how materials flow through campus and will help us meet our goal of achieving an ongoing diversion rate of 50% by 2025. As of 2020, our diversion rate is 30%.

Put Waste in its Place

Test your recycling and composting skills with Catholic U's new waste sorting game!

Live or work off-campus? Check out DC's waste sorting toolkit and waste sorting game.

Current Zero Waste Efforts on Campus

To achieve our 50% diversion rate goal, the University has implemented a series of zero waste efforts on campus. These are a few highlights: 

  • The University has a single-stream recycling program on campus, meaning that common recyclable materials (paper, cardboard, aluminum, etc.) are collected in one container or bin.
  • The University has a compost pilot at the Pryzbyla Center. Landscaping waste is also composted when feasible.
  • The University donates salvageable durable goods such as mattresses, desks, and chairs during student move-outs and office renovations when feasible.
  • During construction, the University regularly diverts more than 50% of construction waste (metal, cardboard, drywall, wood, etc.) from the landfill.
  • The Environmental Health and Safety department follows the applicable federal, District of Columbia and other codes in regulations to store or dispose of hazardous waste on campus properly.
  • Dining Services has incorporated many zero waste best practices into their operations. The Eatery is trayless dining since 2009, which reduces the waste stream. One hundred percent of fryer oil is recycled in the campus dining facilities. Recently, Dining Services has phased in more compostable utensils. The campus community can also request environmentally-friendly catering materials.

Recycling 101

At Catholic University, paper, cans, bottles, metal, and cardboard all go into the same recycling bins. How you recycle in residence halls is how you recycle in classrooms, offices, the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center, and everywhere else on campus.  It all is sorted and separated at WB Waste Solutions', our waste hauler, sorting facility.

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    Campus Race to Zero Waste

    Campus Race to Zero Waste (formerly Recyclemania) is a nationwide competition that aims to inspire, empower, and mobilize colleges and universities to benchmark and improve efforts to reduce or eliminate waste.
    2020 Results:
    • 41st out of 190 competing schools in per capita (recyclables per campus population).
    • 110th out of 140 schools competing in diversion (percentage of waste diverted from landfill).