Zero Waste

SUNY New Paltz is moving towards Zero Waste.  Zero Waste is…

  1. Minimizing the total waste that the campus generates.
  2. Diverting more waste from the landfill through composting and recycling.
  3. Upcycling materials so they meet a higher, not lower need.

Since 2013, the Office of Campus Sustainability and its partners have:

  • Systematically tracked recycling, composting, and waste diversion rates since 2010.  If you’re interested in analyzing this data, please send Campus Sustainability Coordinator Lisa Mitten an email at
  • Implemented mixed recycling in the residence halls.  Paper, cardboard, glass, metal, and plastic all go in one recycling bin.
  • Established a procedure to compost 3D printing materials made of compostable PLA.
  • Strengthened the Move Out Day Reuse2Reduce program.
  • Trialed paper recycling and hanging waste baskets in the Service Building and the Sojourner Truth Library, significantly increasing the diversion rate of recyclable paper.
  • Labeled interior bins across campus with standard recycling and landfill graphics.
  • Significantly increased the amount of food waste composted.  From 2010 to 2013, approximately 115 tons of food waste annually.  Food waste increased to 150 tons in 2014 and then jumped to 190 tons in 2015 and 195 tons in 2016.  The College sent its 2 millionth pound of food waste in 2017.
  • Upgrading all exterior landfill and recycling bins to meet the campus standard.  All new bin sets incorporated mixed recycling.  All exterior bins in the core of campus are now a set of bins including one black landfill and one blue recycling bin.
  • Upgrading all interior landfill and recycling bins.  All new bin sets incorporate mixed recycling, standardized signage, and standard zero waste colors, with blue for recycling and black for landfill materials.