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. In 2021, GW announced its commitment to eliminating single use plastics from its campuses. 

Resources for Proper Waste Disposal



Eliminating Single-Use Plastics

Past Plastic

Plastics pollute our oceans and our environment, impacting animals and human health. GW is committed to eliminating single-use plastics from campus, and has made the following changes:

  • Installation of at least one bottle-filling station (aka “hydration station”) in each building and in convenient pedestrian outdoor locations.  All will be easily identified with branding for the initiative.
  • All vending machines have been converted from plastic bottled beverages to canned or glass beverages, which can be recycled indefinitely.
  • policy to inform members of our community about the university’s guidance regarding single-use plastics, including with respect to procurement, has been approved and will be effective July 1, 2021.

All members of the GW community are encouraged to commit to eliminating personal use of single-use plastics as well.  Learn more about how to take action, access resources, and browse the FAQ on the Past Plastics webpage.


Degree for green chemistry

Chemistry Lab

GW offers a 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).


Green Move Out

Green move out

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.