waste not.

Waste Not

We can reuse 75% of the waste stream but only recycle 30%. Diverting waste from landfills and incinerators helps the environment and finances. We need to examine our purchasing habits, usage, waste disposal and transportation to reduce carbon. Reconsider, reuse, recycle and compost to achieve net zero waste by 2030.

We aim to minimize the amount of waste generated and materials consumed on campus, and achieve 90% diversion by 2030.

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  • Phase I (2020): Establish a working group to determine viable options and pathways to strive for zero waste across university systems by 2030 that will examine our campus purchases and practices, identify the scope of our waste, and create standards of waste reduction infrastructure on campus.
  • Phase II (2020-2021): Create contracts and make purchases which take extended producer responsibility into account, develop a robust system to promote the reuse and donation of materials and goods, ensure any remaining materials and goods are recycled, and improve access to zero waste education.
  • Phase III (2022): Create a system to rescue food and distribute it to people in need.  Ensure all inedible food waste and scraps are diverted from landfill.  Pilot post-consumer organics collection in new dining facilities.
  • Phase IV (2023): Conduct campus-wide site assessment to identify interior collection infrastructure needs, and engage in comprehensive campus waste audit.  Institutionalize food rescue and develop standard operating procedures. 


UB will leverage the recently enacted New York Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Law, the plastic bag ban, Styrofoam ban and other legislative proposals. In addition, our university will leverage its larger "Building the Circular Economy Through Zero Waste" strategy to propose progressive new campus policies that leverage UB's procurement practices, operations and administrative infrastructure to diminish the amount of waste generated on campus.

UB's 9 Point Zero Waste Strategic Plan

  1. Re-think Campus Purchases and Practices: Develop an understanding of the materials required to keep UB operating and identify institutional opportunities which have far reaching impacts.
  2. Identify and Measure the Scope of our Waste: Define the materials we purchase, and use, and those which are brought from outside the University and disposed of on campus by members of the community.
  3. Create Campus Standards for Zero Waste: Clear, informative material is imperative to ensuring participation and service goals are met.
  4. Redistribute Usable Goods On and Off Campus: Ensure all usable property is redistributed for use either on or off campus.
  5. Improve Zero Waste Education: Clear and consistent communication regarding expectations is critical.
  6. Divert All Organics from Waste: Organic materials are a critical resource to maintain within a circular system.
  7. Eliminate Prepared Foods Waste: Edible food will be provided to those in our community experiencing hunger (and if not fit for consumption than to animals).
  8. Eliminate Single Use Plastic Use: Identifying compostable and durable alternatives is not only possible and consistent with our zero waste goals but is also occurring at most peer institutions.
  9. Finance: Develop a business and funding plan for the initiatives.


Fall 2023- Spring 2024

  • Institutionalized collection of food scraps to ensure capture continues when Food Recovery Network student chapter may not be active i.e. summer, winter and spring breaks.
  • Conducted campus-wide waste audit to determine compostion of UB's waste.  Shared process, findings and lessons-learned with NYS DEC and across state agencies to guide compliance with Executive Order.
  • Conducted campus-wide site assessement to identify potential improvements related to internal waste collection equipment, with goal of ensuring access, improving education and expanding opportunties to engage in zero waste behaviors.
  • Shared food rescue planning and procedures with campus colleagues to assist with compliance of NYS Food Recycling and Donation Law. 

Fall 2022- Spring 2023

  • Hired resource managment consultant to draft a strategy to achieve zero waste on campus. 
  • Food Recovery Network student chapter and Campus Dining and Shops, continued to collect food from C3, Starbucks and added Governor’s Dining Hall to their list of recovery sites. 
  • Post-consumer compost collection launced in One World Café.
  • PSS Sustainability Committee and Sustainability hosted public collection events for individuals to properly dispose of paint, electronics and clothing. 
  • HIRED professional clothing boutique partnered with local banks and businesses to collect professional clothing items that students can obtain for free by appointment. 
  • UBReUSE also conducted its 6th move out collection and sale, diverting potential waste from landfills.
  • University worked with the Center of EcoTechnology to divert food to community partners and expand community impact. 

Fall 2020- Spring 2021

  • Removed and recycled over 12 and ½ tons of electronics from South Campus buildings to ensure space is efficiently utilized.
  • Developing revised contracts for university recycling service and sustainable flooring options.
  • Participated in educational campaign promoting Campus Race to Zero Waste in April to engage UB community in zero waste activities on campus and at home.
  • Created a model for a professional clothing distribution center on campus to support students.  HIRED will collect professional clothing and accessories from the greater UB community.  The items will be available to students at no charge, ensuring they are ready for their interview, job fair or internship.  HIRED will also be a safe place for LGBTQ students to obtain professional clothing.     


  • Captain: Tricia Kandler, director of Facilities and Building Procurement.
  • Jeffrey Angiel, Director of Facilities Operations, University Facilities.
  • John Atkinson, Associate Professor, Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering.
  • Nicole Dell, Assistant Dining Director, Campus Dining and Shops.
  • Sara Goodman, Incubation Program Manager, Business and Entrepreneur Partnerships.
  • Elizabeth Hladczuk, Student Union Associate, Student Unions.
  • Erin Moscati, Zero Waste Manager, UB Sustainability.
  • Karen Peissinger, Environmental Health Officer, EH&S.
  • Michael Walker, Custodial Supervisor, Campus Operations.

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