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Spring 2024 Sustainability Competitions

Campus Race to Zero Waste

Campus Race to Zero Waste

This spring, American University is participating in the Campus Race to Zero Waste, a national competition between colleges and universities to reduce waste and increase diversion rates. Throughout the eight-week competition, we will share data about how much waste our campus is generating (recycling, compost, and trash) and provide resources that you can use to help AU reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfill and incineration. If you are member of the AU community, get involved and help us reach zero waste!

The Race: Jan. 28 - March 23

Using fair and friendly competition, the Campus Race to Zero Waste provides tools and opportunities that inspire, empower, and mobilize colleges and universities to benchmark and improve efforts to reduce or eliminate waste. See how we're doing as a campus and check out resources you can share.

Campus Race to Zero Waste lasts eight weeks, from January 28 - March 23. Every week during the competition, we will share how much landfill waste, recycling, and compost was generated on campus.

Stay tuned for updates!

Race to Zero Waste Weight Totals (LBS)
Week Landfill Recycling Compost Total Waste

*This table is updated every Wednesday with data from the previous week. Please note that the data will not be finalized until the end of the competition, and some of the weights for landfill, recycling, and compost are estimates. This is due to the fact that some bins and dumpsters on campus are not emptied and weighted on a weekly basis. Therefore, we will continuously update and refine the data throughout the competition.

1.28-2.3 56,411 6,512 2,936 65,859
2.4-2.10 55,991 6,511 2,981 65,484
2.11-2.17 56,022 6,511 3,544 66,077
2.18-2.24 54,464 6,421 3,920 64,804
2.25-3.2 53,094 7,307 4,072 64,472
3.3-3.9 54,903 7,307 4,072 66,282
3.10-3.16 45,732 6,547 1,577 53,855
3.17-3.23 50,951 7,107 3,112 61,169

Help us get the word out about the competition! You can hang up signage on your door about how waste should be sorted on AU's campus; share waste sorting graphics on your Instagram page; make an announcement about the competition in your class using our PowerPoint slide deck; or use our bulletin board kit to create a display on your residence hall floor. 


Social Media Posts to Reshare

Staff Resources

Faculty Resources

In 2010, AU adopted a Zero Waste Policy for reducing campus waste and diverting the university's waste stream from landfill. In 2021, the university outlined new and ambitious goals for reducing campus waste through AU's Sustainability Plan, including: 

  • Goal 11.1: Achieve Zero Waste (90% diversion) by 2030.

  • Goal 11.2: Eliminate single use plastics on campus.

  • Goal 11.3: Capture 100% of pre-consumer organic waste for composting from every dining location on campus.

  • Goal 11.4: Increase single stream recycling rate by 50%.

  • Goal 11.5: Decrease overall campus waste by 20% by 2030.

Wondering how to sort your waste into trash, recycling, or compost? Need to recycle electronics, furniture, textiles, plastic bags, or batteries? Visit our Zero Waste page or contact the Zero Waste Office in Facilities Management. 

Upcoming Events

Attend an upcoming sustainability event on campus.


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