Zero Waste

Achieve zero waste by 2025 by diverting 90% of waste away from landfills

One of Ohio State's most ambitious goals is to achieve zero waste by 2025 by diverting 90% of waste away from landfills. Ohio State aims to achieve Zero Waste through recycling, repurposing and composting materials.

To achieve zero waste, Ohio State is implementing infrastructure improvements, educating the campus community on recycling contamination and influencing behavior changes, reducing waste, expanding compost options, and reusing durable goods when possible.

Current goal achievement and initiatives

  • Landfill Waste Diversion Rate: 41.2%
  • Over 6,000 tons of materials are recycled or reused every year. Standard signage and bin design have been updated reflecting more recyclable materials to encourage students, faculty and staff to recycle correctly. In addition, the university is partnering with the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio to test and implement the Recycle Right! educational campaign on the Columbus campus to help determine effective recycling messaging for the broader central Ohio community.
  • Ohio State collects food scraps, animal bedding, and compostable containers from across campus for a more beneficial use. For example, Landscape Services reuses spent coffee grounds from campus dining locations in plant beds to improve soil health while minimizing waste.
  • The university’s Zero Waste team has expanded food waste composting to collect from numerous additional campus locations such as residential halls as well as new compost drop-off locations for students, faculty and staff that live off campus.
  • The Wexner Medical Center is reducing specialty medical waste through efforts such as a reusable sharps container program and a pilot program to collect and recycle operating room blue sterilization wrap.
  • Ohio State collaborates with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation (ODRC) and Correction and Ohio Penal Industries (OPI), who operate a recycling sorting program and Class II compost facility in London, OH, as a workforce and reentry training program. Our collaboration with ODRC and OPI is focused on sustainability, education and rehabilitation. Through this collaboration, Ohio State football gameday recycling is sorted and some campus organic waste is composted at the facility, while participants earn a $10.10 per hour wage (with increased overtime wage rates when applicable), learn several trade skills, and can earn composting certifications through the university’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and additional training through Ohio State Extension. In addition, individuals are eligible to earn credit towards early release through their participation.