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We're on our way to Zero Waste

American University is committed to strive for zero waste sent to landfill and incineration.

Throw away doesn't mean go away, so we're on our way to Zero Waste.

Student Move-In 2015

Students who are getting ready for move-in, please try to pack your materials in reusable storage containers if you can! Breaking down cardboard boxes tremendously help out our housekeeping staff. Please place them by zero waste containers in the residence halls. Thank you for your help!

What AU is doing to eliminate waste

Zero waste containers

New zero waste containers at SIS

  • In 2010, AU adopted a Zero Waste Policy mandating the creation of a team to develop a plan for reducing and diverting 100% of the university's waste stream.
  • AU composts paper towel waste from all restrooms around campus. Green Eagles (student sustainability educators) audited the campus waste stream and discovered that by composting paper towels, we are diverting about 13 percent of AU's waste from landfill.
  • AU also composts all of the kitchen waste from the Terrace Dining Room, Tenley Cafe, and coffee grounds from the Davenport Lounge.
  • The university is reducing solid waste by replacing bottled water with inline water filters.
  • In fall 2009, AU eliminated trays in the Terrace Dining Hall, reducing food waste by an estimated 32 percent.
  • The university reuses and recycles surplus furniture by partnering with several area surplus and reuse centers.
  • In 2009, the university recycled 43 percent of the solid waste generated on campus by presorting cans, glass, paper, cardboard, plastic bags, batteries, cell phone batteries, cell phones, and fluorescent lights.
  • We collect and recycle vehicle waste including lubricants, antifreeze, oil filters, tires, and batteries.
  • University-owned electronics equipment can be recycled bysimply e-mailing AUSurplus@american.edu.
  • Personal electronics waste can be recycled at our quarterly e-waste recycling drives.
  • We collect kitchen grease and convert it to electricity and hot water using a Vegawatt generator system.