- Dirty Food and Drink Containers
- Food Scraps
- Straws and Plastic Utensils
- Tissues, Paper Towels, Napkins
- Plastic Wrap, Plastic Bags
- Candy and Snack Packaging
GW has adopted a Zero Waste approach — reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills while increasing recycling, reuse and composting. Although GW faces many significant challenges as an open campus situated in an urban environment, it is working diligently to accomplish the aims laid out in the GW Roadmap to Zero Waste, which was published in fall 2016.
GW is committed to managing waste responsibly in collaboration with our faculty, students and staff.
The university categorizes solid waste as follows and then manages it through a transfer station, waste-to-energy facility or via proper reuse and recycling channels.
In 2018, GW celebrated the first graduating class from its new Master of Science in Environmental and Green Chemistry. The coursework for this program is unique to GW, with a proactive approach to addressing toxicity and learning how to apply state-of-the-art processes and technologies to evaluate environmental impact. A capstone project gives students an opportunity to work with organizations such as the Environmental Working Group and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Each May, students have the opportunity to donate, rather than dispose of, items they no longer need. Green Move-Out makes the residence hall move-out process more environmentally and community-friendly through a multifaceted donation drive. During move-out, students drop items, such as bedding and linens, non-perishable food items, clothing and books, in boxes in residence halls labeled with a Green Move-Out sticker. These items are then bagged and donated to local charity partners. Between FY14 and FY17, nearly 75 tons of usable items were donated through the program, which is made possible through an unprecedented partnership of students, staff and faculty volunteers and sponsors.
A food waste drop-off program was launched in Spring of 2018 as a pilot program for post-consumer composting by two GW Students. The goal of the program was to contribute compost from students to GW's existing infrastructure to deliver compost to Prince George's County Organics Compost Facility. The program began as a two-hour weekly collection in Kogan Plaza where volunteers would help sort through compost for contamination. The ultimate mission of the program was to educate students about why composting is important and how to do it properly. As of the Spring 2019 semester, the composting program has diverted an astonishing 400 pounds of food waste each week from traditional landfills.
The program is about to enter its third semester, with collections taking place on Fridays in Kogan Plaza along Tabling Row and on MVC in Ames Hall from 8:30am-12:30pm.
Acceptable materials for composting are organic materials and paper products which include:
Any GW student, staff, or faculty can participate in the program. We recommend participating with your roommates or other staff in your office, and suggest collecting food waste in an airtight container in your freezer.
Volunteers help screen participants' food waste for contaminents, weigh the collections, answer questions about composting, and drop the bins off for collection. We use the GWServes process to manage volunteer shifts.
According to the Council for Textile Recycling, each year the average American throws out about 70 pounds of clothing and other textiles like sheets and towels. To keep textiles out of the waste stream, GW students should recycle unwanted textiles in the clothing donation bins found in Thurston Hall, South Hall, Shenkman Hall, and DW Clock Tower. Items do not need to be in good enough condition to be resold, but should be clean, dry, and odorless. Remember, textiles are not trash!
You can practice good habits to reduce textile waste. Consider where an item comes from before purchasing textiles. Shopping secondhand or holding a clothing swap with friends or hallmates are great options. Pay attention to clothing labels that indicate how to properly wash and dry your items. When an item has worn out, extend the life of your clothing and other textiles by repairing or repurposing.
Sustainable GW partners with ReThread DC, the local government's initiative to reduce textile waste, in addition to partners across campus like GW Facilities Services, the GW Museum and Textile Museum, the Innovation Center, and student groups to address the impacts of fast fashion.