GW Roadmap to Zero Waste

Fall 2016
August 29, 2016

The George Washington University (GW), consisting of the Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon Campuses in Washington DC, and the Virginia Science and Technology Campus (VSTC) in Ashburn, Virginia, is committed to its continued growth in sustainability. The 2012 Ecosystems Enhancement Strategy (EES)1 is the university’s sustainability vision and mission for healthy ecosystems, lowering our carbon footprint, and promoting an environmentally literate community. In an effort to focus the vast energies of GW, the EES describes actionable targets in six focus areas, one of which is Waste Decomposition and Treatment. Within that section there are four comprehensive targets that together propel GW towards becoming a zero waste institution.

Using the internationally accepted standard for zero waste as a guiding principle, the university’s waste diversion rate can be defined as a 90% diversion of municipal solid waste (MSW) from the landfill or energy-recovery sources2 . Although we face many significant challenges as an open campus situated in an urban environment, GW will work toward zero waste through the initiatives outlined in the following strategic plan. Our approach will strive to reduce overall consumption, return material goods for reuse, compost applicable organic matter to promote new growth, and recycle goods and materials at the end of their lifecycle.

This Zero Waste Plan (Plan) is comprised of the following four sections:

1. An overview of GW’s current waste management infrastructure;

2. A discussion of the challenges and proposed methods for achieving the targets laid out in the EES to become a zero waste institution;

3. University and Financial Commitments needed to achieve Zero Waste goals; and

4. Appendices.

Read the entire Roadmap to Zero Waste here.