Campus Community

Race to Zero Waste

May 8, 2023

Earth Month 2023

Image credit: Parker Wichelmann

SU’s leadership in waste-reduction efforts continues.

In Campus Race to Zero Waste, a national competition involving nearly 100 institutions of higher education, Seattle University demonstrated its leadership in reducing waste. Competing in the eight-week effort, the university:

  • Placed 11th nationally out of 91 participating colleges and universities in the diversion category and third in the Medium Sized School Carnegie Class
  • Recycled and composted around 109,000 pounds of materials throughout the competition and diverted more than 2,400 pounds of electronics from the landfill in a one-month period
  • Reduced its cumulative GHG reductions by the equivalent of about 131 metric tons of CO2—which is the same as keeping 26 cars off the road, or the energy consumed by 11 households

The Big Picture

More than 3.4 million college students and staff across the country participated in the competition, which was sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation. Participants reduced the campus waste footprint by donating, composting and recycling more than 29.4 million pounds of waste; keeping 200 million single-use plastic containers out of landfills; and preventing the release of 29,108 metric tons equivalent of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (equal to the annual emissions from 6,128 cars).

Hailing the participants’ shared achievement as “something truly to be proud of,” Kristy Jones, director of higher education programs at National Wildlife Federation, said, “The impact these colleges and universities have on reducing their waste footprint is tremendous and almost hard to comprehend…The collective efforts to minimize waste and reduce stress on natural resources is inspiring and creating a better world for wildlife and the environment.”

“Congratulations to all participating campuses,” said Stacy Wheeler, president, and co-founder of the competition, which annually mobilizes colleges and universities to improve efforts in benchmarking and promoting zero waste practices.

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