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.

Additional accomplishments and initiatives

  • Over 5,000 tons of materials are recycled or reused every year. Standard signage and bin design have been enhanced to encourage students, faculty and staff to recycle correctly. 
  • Ohio State collects food scraps, animal bedding, and compostable containers from over 30 locations across campus to be used toward a more beneficial use. For example, Landscape Services uses composted organic material generated on campus in plant beds to improve soil health while minimizing waste. 
  • The university’s waste diversion rate reached 35.3% in fiscal year 2021. 
  • Two Medical Center buildings will serve as pilot locations for a new hard-to-recycle plastics program 
  • Ohio State’s Recycle Right campaign is aligned with SWACO efforts, with the two organizations sharing data results and campaign successes for wider community impact beyond the university’s Columbus campus 
  • Ohio State Food Waste Collaborative, a collection of researchers, practitioners and students, promotes the reduction and redirection of food waste. 
  • Ohio State donates nearly 50 tons of uneaten food annually to the Mid-Ohio Food Bank. 
  • Facilities Operations and Development launched a new food scraps Compost Drop-Off Program.

Diversion Rate Baseline (2015): 29.2%
Diversion Rate Performance (2021): 35.3%
Diversion Rate Goal (2025): 90%
Diversion Rate Improvement (To Date): 20.9%

Take action

  • Become educated about what is recyclable on campus.
  • Make thoughtful purchases of only what you need.
  • Say “no thanks” to single-use items such as straws and plastic grocery bags when practical.
  • Choose biodegradable alternatives.
  • Shop “vintage” or used.